I taught myself to knit in May 2002 from a book. Learning this way leaves something to be desired. I couldn't always tell from looking at 2-dimensional pictures exactly what was going on. Suffice it to say that I ended up with some idiosyncracies in my knitting style. I'm a continental knitter (I thread the yarn through my left hand), but I don't do it "right." I use my left thumb a *lot* and my left index finger and middle finger a little to wrap the yarn around the right needle (as opposed to "picking" the yarn with the right needle). I only recently realized this is not the way most continental knitters knit.
My first project was a tote bag. Yes, that is a stupid project for a beginner knitter. Dishcloth. Scarf. These are normal beginner projects. Square things that don't require anything but garter stitch. But Debbie Bliss had other things in mind for me, in her How to Knit - The Definitive Knitting Course. So I began the stupid tote bag. 3 years, 3 months later, I finished it. Well, sort of. I never did seam it up. Stupid tote bag.
For those first 3 years, I didn't knit very consistently at all. The tote bag project was frustrating, and I had other (non-knitting) projects going on. Buying a house, having babies, and the like. I did try valiantly to knit a baby blanket from a Suss Knits Kit. What a mess. A simple garter stitch blanket, but it took me 15 months to complete it (working very sporadically) and when I finished it, it looked just awful. And in November/December 2004 and January 2005, I briefly worked with intensity and attention on four scarves in a row. My first scarves and my first knitted gifts. Unfortunately, there was a lot I didn't really know about finishing - like weaving in ends. If I remember correctly, I just sort of knotted things and snipped. To Julie, Carol, Marcia, and Hillary - I'm sorry if the scarves unraveled. I'm betting they did.
August 2005. Enter knittinghelp.com. Amazing site. There are not enough words to praise it and its creator, Amy Findlay. Over 150 instructional videos to help a person learn to knit. Plus fabulous forums for asking questions and talking shop. Overnight, I became a real knitter. And a fanatic. Six months later, I'm still a freak about all things knit. Thanks, Amy! Thanks, KH!