I did crochet a shawl for my grandmother about three years ago. I am very glad I did it, even though I don't think she ever wore it. My grandmother passed away a year ago last December, and the gesture meant far more than the practicality of it.
In the last few weeks I've been bitten by the bug again. I learned to knit in graduate school, but I learned to crochet at my grandmother's knee when I was very young - I must have been around 6. I like the drape and stretch of knitted clothes, so I always considered crochet inferior which is why I learned to knit later in life. But there has been a real crochet renaissance as of late and the patterns have become increasingly sophisticated. Crochet is much more natural for me due to when I learned it, and I always feel like my grandmother is at my elbow when I am crocheting. I miss her terribly. So in these dark days of winter I have picked up the hook again and started a shawl for myself. My mother took the shawl I gave to my grandmother, so I must make myself one anew.
the cover shawl from the Leisure Arts book Wonderful Wearable Wraps. Of course I am not crocheting to gauge because I can't be bothered figuring it out, and the wrap is done from the bottom up so it really doesn't matter. I am using cheap yarn, mostly because anything I'm really going to use must be machine washable these days - Lion Brand Wool-Ease in Oxford Grey. One skein will take you pretty far, which is nice. With the stash I've got, I don't really feel comfortable spending a fortune on a "break the ice" project like this.
After years of avoiding the place I signed up for Ravelry. But I'm not wet behind the ears. I'll be lucky if I finish the shawl, and even luckier if I start and finish anything else having to do with yarn in 2012. I've finally made my peace with half-finished projects and unrealized aspirations. I get enough other things done in my "real life" that I can let myself pretend for a little while that I will actually complete a yarn project. And I won't beat myself up too badly if I don't. I've gotten here (after decades of self-flagellation) not through being wonderfully insightful and grounded or even through good quality therapy, but via the realization that if I don't adopt this attitude, I cannot have my grandmother at my elbow any more.