For one of my birthdays before I was ten, my great-aunt got me a set of knitting needles, yarn, and a knitting book for kids. She then spent several hours of her life teaching me how to knit, hours that she would never get back. I was decent at it, and I could make a scarf, a longer scarf, and an even longer (and also less misshapen) scarf after several years of practice. Eventually, being able to knit only scarves lost its appeal, and I ignored my former hobby for several years.
Fast forward to the summer after my junior year of college, and knitting was back! I saw people knitting all around me, whether at school or home. I picked my knitting needles back up and got to work. This time, however, I branched out from my former repetoire and learned to make hats, blankets, socks, sweaters, stuffed animals, and pretty much any other item you could ever possibly want to knit.
Knitting is a great hobby for me personally and for many others. It keeps your hands busy, is almost mindless to do while watching television or holding a conversation, is easily portable, and produces handcrafted goods that your friends and family would love to receive (or at least, they'll hopefully pretend)!
Just remember: don't knit a sweater for your significant other. Sweaters ruin relationships. It's a fact.
Picking up knitting needles for the first time? I highly recommend the book I learned to knit with, Kids Knitting by Melanie Falick, for both kids and adults. It breaks down the beginning steps of the process with clear instructions and excellent illustrations. Try a few of the projects to get yourself comfortable!
Have you learned the knitting basics, but are discouraged by how long it takes to complete a project? Try Speed Knitting by Kris Percival! These projects are specifically designed to be completed quickly, and the patterns leave out standard knitting abbreviations, allowing even a beginning knitter to follow the pattern.
Knitting for the Absolute Beginner by Alison Dupernex provides a series of lessons that build upon one another, helping brand-new knitters to practice their skills. By the end, if you've followed along, you will have the techniques necessary to create a variety of clothes and accessories.
Circular Knitting Workshop by Margaret Radcliffe gives instructions for different methods of knitting in the round, something that holds a lot of knitters back from that next step (for many years, I was included among their number).
There are many, many more books available at the library for all your knitting needs. Have fun and happy knitting!