Clever...very clever. So, to summarize:it's generally a good idea to perform editing in a separate window/dialog. create this window with new->Qt Designer Form Class; this create everything at once. use the QDataWidgetMapper in the edit dialog to display the details from the model. use VRonin's technique of setting the model index for the edit dialog by using the index from the parent window.
I'll edit the summary if anyone informs me of errata. Thanks for all the assistance.