If you’re new to crochet (or even if you’re not), I highly suggest the Lion Brand website. They have hundreds (maybe thousands) of free patterns, tips, tutorials, references, and so on. Also, they have consistently well written patterns. If you’ve ever tackled a poorly written pattern, you know the frustration it can cause! If you register, you can also access some nice features which allow you to bookmark your favorite patterns and what-not. I’m guessing the site is just as good for knitters (they have oodles of knitting patterns), but wouldn’t know anything about that first hand since I’ve failed to imprint that skill on my brain so far (though I’ve tried three times).
I’m also a big fan of the Lion Brand yarns. I make a lot of blankets and just can’t afford to spend hundreds of dollars on every project I make. The Lion Brand yarns tend to be good quality without the exorbitant cost. I’m particularly fond of the Homespun and Vanna’s Choice lines for their cuddle-ability. I have yet to use a Lion Brand yarn that wasn’t machine washable, which is another big selling point in my opinion. It’s important to me that recipients of my creations can use them… and part of that means being able to wash them without too much hassle.