My sister kept mentioning last year that she wanted to learn to crochet, so I got her Debbie Stoller's The Happy Hooker for Christmas. I think I showed remarkable self-restraint by not flicking through it until now. (I honestly didn't by it with myself in mind, but I might be a terrible person regardless.)
I got good use out of the Stripes (and Stripes) Forever pattern - when I had reams left over from making a belt, I decided to make a scarf, as well. I used Debbie Bliss Cotton DK, in what was my first yarn-shopping jaunt in an uncharacteristically long time. I wanted to use earth-tones, and I think the colour scheme ended up quite Middle Earthish, which I'm happy with, because I am a really cool and well-adjusted person with a vibrant social life.
I made the belt several inches too long, but at least it's long enough to tuck into the next belt-loop.
The scarf is also self-tasselling, which is pretty cool! It's crocheted in long rows end-to-end, rather than short rows side-to-side. It looks nice and academic, I think, and as I started it while I was in Cambridge, I feel doubly justified in thinking of it as my Shire scarf.
Second and third crochet projects down! (The fourth will hopefully be put together tonight, photos in the future.) The next one I have planned is a biggie - if I do a decent job of it, I'll feel I'm allowed to say that I can crochet.
Also, Irish Premature Babies sent me a thank-you card for the squares I donated, and emailed me pictures of the blankets they've made! I get to feel fuzzy, and I get post.