"We can do no great things, only small things with great love." [Mother Teresa]
Long ago, I resigned myself to the fact that the most favorable compliment about my forays in knitting were that the plain knit scarves were consistent. As a child, I was taught to knit like a Brit by a Scottish house-guest. Her week long visit was long enough for exactly that: learning the knit stitch and casting off.
My prowess never extended beyond plain knitting. I couldn't find any resources on how to purl English style when I first needed them in the early 90s, and assumed they didn't exist. When I started up The Little Flower Project (Scarves for Priests), I resigned myself to a lesson in humility and a lifetime of diligently made plain scarves, varying only in color, while I enviously watched Therese and Gianna make lacy sweaters and teddy bears on our regional road trips.
Then yesterday, I encountered Knitting for Dummies, which had visual instructions in both English and Continental style. In 5 minutes, I was purling! In 15 minutes, I could make stockinette! In half an hour, seed stitch! And by tonight, cables!
Knitting for Dummies (and its companion book, Knitting Patterns for Dummies) are excellent resources for the knitting novice.