But it turns out that, given a little time on my own, the relevant pattern instructions and my own needles and some yarn, I can help. Well, in this case I could anyway. And you know what? It feels fantastic! I actually feel like a proper knitter and that might even be one with a capital "K".
Okay, so I'm probably getting carried away, on a high from the satisfaction of being useful and the relief of not letting another knitter down. Knitting is such a sociable craft (except, perhaps, when I'm counting!) that we're all used to helping each other out with any question, yarn-related or not. So I'm absolutely not saying that there's anything special in what I did but it has reminded me how much I miss meeting with my knitting buddies. And how important friends are, full stop.
Anyway, in case anyone else is interested, here are some supplementary notes for Rowan's "Knotted Cable Snood And Fingerless Mitts":
After knitting the six strips, the pattern provides instructions for combining the strips into an elegant, twisted edge. And it was from here that the question arose. Having tried it myself, I think the missing piece of the puzzle is to know that you're effectively passing the first strip along the work, and then securing it behind the final strip.
In my example, there are only three strips, each of eight stitches (i). As per instructions, the first strip (in this case the gold strip) is crossed over the second (green one) (ii). Then the second strip is fed between the first and second strips, so that the cast on edge can be held against the back of stitches of the first strip (iii). You then follow the pattern instructions to join the two strips together and, having finished one repeat, you will have nine stitches on the right hand needle ((iv), as shown in purple). The gold-coloured strip remains the "first strip" when you perform the second repeat with the next (third, and in this case red) strip and so on until all remaining strips have been wrapped around it (five strips x nine sts = 45 sts). I’m guessing that as a final step, you send the cast on edge of this first strip behind the stitches of the sixth strip and knit both strips together (as instructed) to complete the edging (45 sts + 8 sts from the final strip= 53 sts, as required). Should all be rather beautiful.