Step 1. Pick out yummy, super cool yarn from stash.
Step 2. Spend approximately 2 hours debating over patterns. Check out many of the projects on Ravelry to determine if the pattern is going to look good with the yarn you picked. Note: Make sure you don't start this process until very late in the evening.
Step 3: Finally decide on two patterns, go back and forth between the two several times.
Step 4: Purchase pattern. Download pattern. Transfer to flash drive because you're printer is out of ink and you have to use the other one in the house. Print pattern.
Step 5: Find a non-wobbling bar stool to set up yarn swift on, luckily this takes 2 seconds as opposed to the 2 hours it took to choose a pattern. Using a wobbling one is a lot like using a grocery store carriage with a wobbling wheel ... its annoying at best.
Step 6: Find needles. First find empty package of the correct size and curse ... really you don't even know where they are. Check interchangeable set for this size, almost certain that this one doesn't ring a bell. Squee with delight when you find that you did indeed purchase tips in this size.
Step 7: Wind yarn. Photograph yarn for blog prior to casting on.
Step 8: Look at the clock and ask yourself if you really even want to knit this stupid shawl now that its almost midnight. Note: The shawl is not stupid, you are.
Step 9: Cast on shawl.
Step 10: Admire the first pattern repeat. Ohhh pretty!