When I first expressed an inkling of interest in learning how to knit and/or crochet, The Real Martha, as she is wont to do, immediately mailed me a package with a learn-to-knit kit and some inexpensive (read: cheap) yarn to practice with. She also brought me a boatload of '70s and '80s era acrylic yarn that she's had sitting around for years unused. Now that I have a little bit more confidence in my crocheting and knitting, I don't need quite so much practice yarn anymore, so I decided to put it to good use.
Using this series of tutorials for a basic spiral hat (the pattern provides a basic formula that can be modified to make several different styles of hat), I've made a couple hats out of the extra yarn with plans to donate them to a local homeless shelter/food bank in DC. The great thing about this pattern is that, since it's crocheted in a spiral rather than distinct rows, it avoids the seam issue I had when making previous crochet hats.