Here's a good illustrated site for learning the basics: http://www.theknittingsite.com/basic.htm
They have photographs and videos so you can learn the techniques. If you are just learning, I would recommend starting with something fairly simple, like a scarf or dishcloth done on moderately sized knitting needles. That way you can concentrate on getting comfortable with a technique, and not worry too much about designs just yet. When you are ready to graduate to something more complicated, try a small item first. It's easy to get discouraged and frustrated when you start a big project and it feels like it's taking a long time to finish.
I've been knitting since before my 10th birthday. I started with a very simple scarf using discount yarn. From there I made baby booties for all the new babies that were born in my congregation. Then I tried my hand at a baby layette with a hat, sweater and booties. From there I learned to make my own mittens in the winter. When I had my own children, each of them had sweaters and blankets that I made myself. I don't make full sized garments very often, but last winter I made an off-the-shoulder wide collar sweater for one of my girls. One of my favorite projects were the pop-top mitten/fingerless gloves - they were greatly appreciated by the teenagers who didn't know that they came in "cool" colours. A couple of years ago I decided to tackle knitting socks because a family member needed to have some seamless socks due to diabetes (seams in socks can lead to diabetic ulcers on the feet). Again, to get the hang of the technique, I started with baby socks and then started making adult socks. There were a couple of stitches that gave me grief so I looked up the online videos for them and actually sat at the computer with my knitting in hand and worked the stitches while I watched the demo. It also helps to know a few people who don't mind mentoring you as you learn different techniques.
Here are a couple of patterns that came from a magazine that I subscribe to which I have enjoyed making:
Children's hat: http://www.canadianliving.com/CanadianLiving/client/en/Crafts/DetailNews.asp?idNews=2025&idSM=307
Pop-top mitts: http://www.canadianliving.com/CanadianLiving/client/en/Crafts/DetailNews.asp?idNews=1690&idSM=307