Heather left a comment on yesterday's post, asking about how to get started with knitting. I have an older post about getting better at knitting, and much of that advice applies to newbies as well.
I advise against a scarf because they take a long time. If you're a brand-new knitter, your knitting will be different by the end of a scarf (looser, most likely, and more even too), and the difference may frustrate you. I suggest that you buy yourself a copy of the first Mason-Dixon Knitting book (hardcovers from $0.28!) and knit up a dishcloth.
You can make an excellent dishcloth with cheap cotton yarn from Michael's, where you can also buy yourself a pair of size 8 wooden needles. Many yarn shops, sadly, are not super newbie-friendly, and many of their offerings are expensive. It's worth seeing if your local yarn shop (known as your LYS in online knitter-speak) is a friendly place, but don't get discouraged if it's not. (I hope I have not maligned your LYS unjustly. Too many yarn shops give me that upscale coffeeshop vibe, where if you have to ask what a ristretto is you're not cool enough to be drinking it.)
The advantages of a dishcloth are many: it's small. It's useful year-round. No one cares if your dishcloth is a little wonky. Is it absorbent? (Answer: yes. See above re: cotton yarn.) Absorbent is all that matters. It will free you from the get-go of the idea that handknits are Sacred Objects that must be treated with reverence. Scrub that pot! It's a portable knitting project; scarves and their ilk get less and less portable as you go (see yesterday's post). It will let you try out new techniques on a small canvas. Does purling hurt your hands? You only have to do it for 45 stitches at a time if you're making a Ballband Dishcloth from the Mason-Dixon book.
You don't have to buy the book for that pattern; it's available for free. You can look up YouTube videos for long-tail cast-on and knit/purl stitches, and you'll be good to go. You'll also need to slip stitches for that dishcloth, but that just means you slide them from one needle tip to the other. (I'm not much of a YouTuber -- does anybody have recommendations?) I love the authors' voices, though, and their perspective on free-range knitting. I'd also recommend Stephanie Pearl-McPhee's Knitting Rules, and Elizabeth Zimmermann's Knitter's Almanac. You can find a welcoming community at Ravelry as well as at the Mason-Dixon Knitting site, where you can post a picture of Knitting Gone Wrong and get immediate assistance in de-wonkification.