i'm going to chime in here from two angles. giving yourself something is a DEFINITE good thing.
and i HIGHLY suggest learning how to knit in the round. i initially learned by using silver's sock tutorial. a link is in her signature. i had no one at hand to teach me, but her instructions, with many many pics, made it crystal clear. i was a bit nervy on the first few rounds, but i did it!
once you accomplish knitting with dpn's, try knitting with 2 circs and then magic loop. they are seriously valuable skills.
i definitely prefer knitting in the round to knitting flat and having to seam. there is something so satisfying to having a garment come together with no seams! you cast off and are basically done!