Right now I figure — rather than boring people with the same Powers of Two blanket I've been working on for weeks — I'll talk about how I learned to knit. :)
I'd always been interested in learning to knit, but the closest I'd ever gotten was making big floppy loose I-cord on my fingers, something I learned in elementary school. (And man, that's fast. If I ever need big floppy loose I-cord, not that I can imagine why I would, I'll do that instead of knitting it.) My mom didn't knit, although she did do counted cross-stitch. I'd done plenty of cross-stitching over the years (and eschewed stamped in favor of counted, which just looked nicer to me), but knitting and crocheting had always intrigued me.
So one day I picked up a booklet called 10-20-30 Minutes To Crochet, and gave it a shot. It didn't take long to figure out what I was doing. I bought a ton of acrylic yarn, made blankets and throw rugs, and for a few months was pretty much obsessed with crocheting and very pleased with myself.
At that point, we moved from our apartment to a condo, and I picked up another book — The Complete Idiot's Guide To Knitting And Crocheting. I bought — and wow, big mistake here, which I wish I'd had someone around to tell me — a pair of 14" aluminum straight needles. With which I proceeded to try to knit slippery acrylic yarn. HORROR. Oh, man, what a terrible, terrible idea that was. I remember throwing my needles against the wall at one point as I tried to learn how to cast on. For some reason I was trying to learn the cabled cast-on method first… another horrifying mistake!
But I perservered, and eventually I produced a peach-colored acrylic dishcloth. After that I had a little more confidence, bought some better needles, and turned out hats and dishcloths and blankets for a few years, using mostly bamboo needles and acrylic yarns — although I quickly reserved Red Heart-style yarns for crocheting, as I realized it just wasn't as good for knitting as Wool-Ease and other such things. It crocheted up fine, though!
A few years later I taught myself how to knit socks, and I've probably made more socks than anything else — it's the only thing Grant will let me knit for him (well, this is not strictly true, I just have yet to design a sweater for him that would look good on his body shape and would be comfortable for him to wear; I think if I made him a zip-up cardigan he could take to work and wear when he's cold, he probably would), so most of his socks have been replaced with wool socks at this stage.
It has never occurred to me not to knit in public. I get a lot of comments from strangers on it — mostly they just want to know what I'm knitting — and it's an interesting ice-breaker, although when I'm not really feeling like being social it can be kind of frustrating having my knitting thrust social contact upon me. But you know, c'est la vie — I'd definitely rather take my knitting places and have it to occupy me rather than being bored or having an activity that I can't do and talk at the same time. (Okay, the awkwardness of that sentence's construction makes me hurt, but it's early in the morning, whaddya want.)