I really like Stitch n Bitch by Debbie Stoller -- she teaches you all the techniques and it is a very interesting and funny read!<br><br>
Also, on <a href="http://www.knittinghelp.com" target="_blank">www.knittinghelp.com</a>, there are videos of each technique, which are extremely helpful! Sometimes a video is worth a thousand words and pictures LOL<br><br>
I totally love <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325&tag=motheringhud-20&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2Fexec%2Fobidos%2FASIN%2F0764569147%2Fqid%3D1117195009%2Fsr%3D2-1%2Fref%3Dpd_bbs_b_2_1%2F102-7972996-9584937" target="_blank">Teach Yourself Visually Knitting and Crochet</a> It has color photos vs. black and white or drawings which I find confusing at times. It's primarily knitting based, but I like the fact that it shows basic crochet skills as well. I also second the recommendation for the knitting help website that someone else mentioned.<br><br>
I finally learned to knit with The Knit Stitch by Sally Melville. Part of it was the presentation style. Many books seem to give all of the basics up front, then give the patterns. Melville gives 2-3 skills (first chapter is casting on, knit stitch, and binding off), then gives some patterns using just those skills. Subsequent chapters cover other skills like increasing and decreasing when you need them, rather than all at once.<br><br>
For crochet, I really like Hip to Crochet, but since I already had rudimentary crochet skills when I got it, I'm not certain if it's truly a beginner book.<br><br>
Also want to second (third? fourth?) the knittinghelp.com recommendation.