If you've ever tried to start a hobby from scratch, it can be a little daunting. When I learned to crochet, my Mamaw gave me a ball of yarn and a hook. It was a pretty simple start, but it got me, well, started. But I've met people who come to a local sit'n'stitch, literally off the street and they want to learn to crochet. You can teach them how, but then how do they practice? How do they know what to go out and buy for themselves?
There are some people who probably like the idea of walking into a store and just buying up everything and getting started. I haven't met any of those people, but I'm sure they're out there. For most folks, though, it's difficult to know what they do or don't need and walking into That Aisle of the craft store is really overwhelming.
Make the new crocheter in your life a starter kit! Yes, I know there are companies that make whole packs, but if you wanted something a little more personal a DIY gift would probably be a better route to take.
My sister wants to learn to crochet, but doesn't want me to actually be the one to teach her. This is probably because we fight whenever we tell each other what to do (old habit die hard, etc.), but also because we live in separate states. When I drew her name in the family Christmas gift exchange, I got straight to work.
First step: Hooks.
Definitely buy your person more than one--it's not going to break the bank. It can take a while for a new crocheter to figure out gauge (or, a person's gauge can change after getting the hang of things), and I think having plenty of hooks can make a nervous and newer crafter feel a little more prepared.
Plus, crochet hooks are pretty. They come in different colors and they're very shiny!
Next up: Yarn.
I went with a mix of medium weight yarns. Clockwise from the top left: washable wool, wool/acrylic, wool/bamboo, and plain acrylic. I've seen newer crocheters get frustrated with their yarn and quit learning. They may actually like crocheting, but they'll never know because they don't like the one type of yarn they were working with! Sad.
Again, having more than one type of supplies can help someone feel a little more prepared to learn. Plus, even though these are all medium-weight yarns, they're very different. You could probably crochet 4 swatches from these 4 skeins and get 4 very different sizes of crocheted fabric. A variety of yarns can help someone learn his or her gauge in addition to figuring out what types of materials s/he likes to work with.
Pick out bright solids for a beginner. Variegated or dark yarns make it difficult to tell what you're doing, or find mistakes if you're having a hard time. I once tried to teach 3 women to crochet at once with only 2 hooks and some black acrylic yarn. The dark yarn caused us all WAY more distress than the needle-sharing. Bright solids! I cannot stress this enough!
And I have to confess, some of these yarns came from my stash. I'm not saying that doing something like this would be helpful for getting rid of excess yarn or duplicate needles.....
Wait, yes. That is exactly what I'm saying. There's no reason you can't help 2 people in this situation.
Finally, there's learning materials. (Books.) You can remind your crafter acolyte of your phone number. You can direct them to the Leisure Arts videos. You can give them books.
I gave my sister the book Crochet Essentials. I don't quite remember why other than I liked the cover, but it might have had something to do with the large illustrations inside.
Other good options for beginners are I Can't Believe I'm Crocheting!, and Learn to Crochet, NOW.
Okay, so you have your gift.
What do you do with it? You put it in a project bag as the gift wrapping!
I wish I could take credit for this cute bag, but my sister found this tote somewhere and thought it would be good for holding her projects. Anything with a compartment is always a winner, and I firmly believe that storing your things in plastic sacks from the store dooms you to forget your supplies even existed.
Little drawstring pouches also make good project bags, as do some purses. When it comes to project bags, there really is no limit to what you can find. Stay away from Velcro, and you're good to go!
Other items to include in a crochet starter kit: stitch markers, measuring tape, darning needle, scissors, or anything else you think your friend might like. I wish I'd included some Starburst candy. No real reason. My sister likes Starburst.
My sister has yet to actually attempt crocheting, but she told me she has read through the book. Or looked at the pictures. Or something.
But she has everything locked away in a cute, vintage file box I gave her for her birthday last summer.
Her supplies are in one place and, should she ever decided to try this out, she's all set! I can't really make her like crochet, but I can feel like a good big sister knowing that I've given her supplies and encouragement to get started in this great craft!
And I stayed away from black acrylic. Sister of the Year, right here!