Shaping shoulders and back neck-confused

I’ve checked other posts on this topic but the answers are not leaving me any clearer. I am working on the Natalie cardigan, the back piece, from the Rowan Classic Family book. I really do not know how to interpret the pattern at the neck/shoulder shaping part:

  1. there are 62 stitches on the needle after shaping armholes and knitting up the rest of the back. It says to “end with RS facing for next row.” [I][COLOR=“Blue”]How do I know which is RS when the pattern is done in garter stitch?[/COLOR][/I]

  2. Cast off 7 sts, K until there are 11 sts on right needle and turn, leaving rem sts on a holder. [I][COLOR=“Blue”](I think I got that bit ok. I cast off the first 7 stitches, knitted 44 stitches, and put the last 11 onto an extra needle. So now there are 44 stitches on the needle.)[/COLOR][/I]

  3. Work each side of neck separately.

  4. Cast off 3 sts at beg of next row. [I][COLOR=“Blue”](Got it)[/COLOR][/I]

  5. Cast of rem 8 sts. [I][COLOR=“Blue”](OK I am lost with steps 4 and 5 – do these two instructions mean cast off 3 right after having put those 11 sts on a holder, in which case, won’t the 3 sts I cast off make a hole or something? And by casting off rem 8 sts, well, if I started the row by casting off 3, there would be 41 sts remaining. Do I cast off the first 8 of those 41, or the last 8, or do I knit to the very end of that row and cast off the first 8 of the next row, or is it really talking about the rem sts on the holder that I am supposed to be casting off?)[/COLOR][/I]

  6. With RS facing, rejoin yarn to rem sts, cast off centre 26 sts, K to end. [I][COLOR=“Blue”](Which rem sts are they talking about, the one on the holder, or something else? Assuming the previous two steps left me with 33 sts on the needle, if I rejoin the yarn to them, I can’t cast off 26 in exactly the middle, it would be off by a stitch… so am I supposed to knit 4, cast off 26, then knit 3? and how do I know if RS is facing… does it really matter?)[/COLOR][/I]

  7. Complete to match first side, reversing shapings. [I][COLOR=“Blue”](Oh dear, I hope that if I can understand the directions up to this point, I will be able to do that…)[/COLOR][/I]

Thank you for any advice or links you may have to help out with this.

Hi and welcome!
If the sweater is all in garter stitch and both sides look exactly the same, pick a side and call it the RS. Put a safety pin in it or weave some scrap yarn into that side so that you can eadily identify it.
The next step is where there’s a problem and it’s why the stitch count doesn’t make sense to you. You should [I]not[/I] knit the 44sts after the cast off. Cast off 7 and knit the next 10sts. That way, you’ll have 11sts on the [I]righthand[/I] needle. Turn the work, leaving the next 44sts on a holder and cast off 3sts. This is the neck edge. Work to the end of the row, turn, cast off the remaining 8sts (this is the shoulder).
Now you go back to the 44sts on the holder. Start knitting with a new end of yarn and cast off 26sts. I think it’ll now make sense and you’ll be able to finish the second shoulder to match the first. If not, come on back with questions. We’re glad to have you here.

Oh, I see!!! That certainly does change everything. I just tried it out and yes, it did work out that way. I glossed right over the part about knitting until there were 11 stitches on the RIGHT needle, not the left one. I feel silly, and at the same time grateful for your kind advice. Thank you so much!