A co-worker gave me some lovely alpaca yarn (she has an alpaca farm!), so I began surfing the web looking for patterns. I decided on a hat and mitten set. The yarn is multi-colored in muted shades of brown, rust, and green. I thought a plain pattern (no cables or fancy stitches) would be good. Let the yarn color be the "star" of the project. I've never made mittens before. I like to try new patterns and learn new techniques.
I'm a teacher. I show adults how to use their computers. I think knitting is a lot like computer use. You don't learn everything there is to know about computers in one lesson or one work project. You pick up tidbits here and there, as you need them, in context of something you need to know to get the job done. Same with knitting. You don't learn every stitch, every technique just by knitting one pattern. Each project tests your knowledge and stretches you to learn something new. The most amazing part of knitting is that it's been around for eons, and most of the knowledge is passed down by word of mouth, by one person sitting with another, showing them how to slip stitches or make a cable. Knitters are networked like crazy! All you have to do is ask for help, and an avalanche of experience is available to you.
The other byproduct of knitting that I enjoy is the peace. When I knit, I sort my thoughts, tune out the world when I need to concentrate on the pattern, revel in the knowledge that I'm making something for someone, and just enjoy being. My dogs recognize the knitting basket. When I take it down from the top of the entertainment center cabinet, they all take up napping positions. They know Mom's going to sit for a while, and you might as well get 40 winks. So knitting is a relaxing time for them, too. How cool is that?