I'm on holiday in the Isle of Wight at the moment and when looking round a local knitting and craft shop I came across a pattern book entitled Jean Greenhowe's Jiffyknits. It is the perfect pattern book for a beginner as everything in it is made from garter stitch strips and squares. I only wish I had this book when I first started as it is much more exciting than the usual scarf. Inside are patterns for all different cute items from a tin of baked beans to the invisible man! All the patterns are very quick and rarely use more than 25g of yarn so are great for stash busting so will even benefit the intermediate knitter. You can buy Jiffyknits patterns from Jean Greenhowe's website. There are also some good free patterns on there as well so it is well worth a look.
Happy knitting :)