Where in Iowa are you? I'm down in SE Iowa, about halfway between Mount Pleasant and Burlington.
ANYWAY...to distribute your stitches, for your needle 1 (which has the working yarn), slip as if to purl four stitches from the needle 2 (using the left end of needle one, from the right side of needle 2), so you will end up with four stitches left on needle 2, and 12 on needle 1. Then slip as if to purl two stitches onto needle 2 (again using the left end of needle 2 from the right end of needle 3) from needle 3, which will then leave 6 stitches on each needle. That should do the trick!