I learned to knit from my mom as a child, but didn't stick with it. In 1995 I quit my career in electronics and moved from Texas to Oregon to attend graduate school at Oregon State University. That first dark and rainy winter I realized I needed an indoor hobby (besides TV and chocolate). Over the winter holiday break, I checked out some books from the local library, bought some needles and yarn, and re-taught myself how to knit.
Being either ambitious or ignorant (or both), I decided my first project would be an Irish fisherman's sweater that I'd design myself. I at least had the sense to do a matching cable scarf first. I found a book in the library called Knitting in the Old Way by Priscilla Gibson-Roberts. It gave me some guidelines for a traditional raglan shape and I started knitting my sweater. I didn't know a few basics like using a smaller needle and/or fewer stitches for the ribbing, so my ribbing flares out a bit, rather than drawing in. And if I remember right, it took three or four tries to get the neckline anywhere near the right shape and size. But for all it's flaws, I've worn this sweater into the ground and still love it.
I've been knitting ever since and rarely followed a pattern. I've recently started writing up my designs for others to make.
You can find me on Ravelry as SheilaOKeefe and on Google+ as Sheila OKeefe.