This technique is common in shawl patterns and not hard to execute, but if you haven't seen it done it and are just going off the directions, it can look very weird and "wrong". Don't worry, it's supposed to look that way ;-)
Apologies for wandering off-screen a time or two- I can never seem to keep my hands still. Also I realize I mentioned that the long needle is useful but I didn't really say why- it makes it much easier and more comfortable to pull those stitches on to the cord and then bend around and go back for more. My needle was probably a little longer than it really needed to be, though.
The Fall Shawl-Together is a season-long series of blog posts and other content from a range of knitting designers, all centered around (what else) shawls! If you're into shawl knitting- or even just interested in topics like color selection and yarn substitution- you should definitely check out the other posts, which are all gathered on this page (which'll be updated each week as a new post goes live.)