My mom crochets, but never had the patience to teach me more than a simple chain. I do needlepoint and cross-stitch...well, I used too. I love the prayer shawl idea, Tink. Lovely.
When my dad was going through chemo and radiation, he would receive a "care package" before each chemo treatment, filled with soft foods, magazines, snacks, etc. And in each one there was always a hand-knit cap. My dad treasures those and shows them off proudly.