Q (from Al before she picked up knitting needles): Isn't it possible to set down your knitting in the middle of a row and come back to it and get completely confused as to which needle you've been working onto? And as a follow-up question, if this happens, how can you tell?
A (from Al today): Yes, yes that is entirely possible. And since you are an absolute beginner, you won't be able to tell until several rows later when your supposedly rectangular piece starts looking a little stair-steppy. With holes.
Gah. A hook would never be this confusing.