Service Project

Claire rested her chin on her arms and watched her grandmother crochet. The fine white thread was slowly being twisted and knotted into a fine, lacy doily. “It’s so pretty, Grandma,” Claire said.

“Thank you, darling,” Grandma said.

She continued to crochet, and Claire watched. “Grandma,” Claire said after several minutes. “Can you teach me to do that?”

“I’d love to teach you,” Grandma said. “Give me just a moment to finish this round.” She stitched a little longer and then poked her crochet hook through the doily and wrapped it together with the thread and the pattern and set it on a shelf of the bookshelf.

Then she left the room and returned with a large ball of pink yarn and a fat crochet hook. “I’ve been hoping you’d ask,” she said. “I’ve been saving this just in case. Now, watch closely.”

She showed Claire how to make a slipstitch and had her try. Then she taught her to single crochet. Then double crochet. Claire patiently watched and copied what her grandma taught her. “Very good, Claire,” Grandma said.

Claire finished her row and put down the hook, careful not to let it slip out of its loop. “Grandma, when will I learn how to make the pretty webs you were making?”

Grandma laughed. “They’re doilies, dear. It will take a little bit of practice before you get there. I think it won’t take you long. You’re learning really quickly.”

“Doilies?” Claire asked. “What are doilies for?”

“They’re to be pretty. If I leave them under a vase, they can protect the table like a coaster would,” Grandma said.

“Oh,” Claire said. She looked disappointed.

“What’s wrong, dear? What did you think they were for?” Grandma asked.

Claire looked down at the pink ball of yarn and rolled it back and forth, a few inches at a time. She mumbled her answer. Grandma leaned forward a little. “Say it again, I didn’t quite catch that,” she said.

“A web,” Claire said. She looked up. “I thought it was a web.”

“And what would I do with a web?” Grandma asked. “Did you think that I’m secretly a spider?” She laughed.

Claire looked down and pushed around the ball of yarn again. “No,” she said. “Of course not.” She frowned.

“Then what did you think?” Grandma asked.

Claire sighed and looked up again. “I thought you were helping the spiders,” she said.

“But the spiders make their own webs,” Grandma said.

“I thought maybe there were some spiders who can’t because they’re sick or got hurt or something. So you were making webs for them,” Claire said.

“My doilies wouldn’t catch them any bugs,” Grandma said.

“They would if you sprayed them with sticky stuff,” Claire said. “And even without it they would be a nice place for spiders to sleep.”

Grandma smiled. “So you wanted to learn to crochet so that you could help the spiders too?” Claire nodded, and Grandma gave her a big hug.   “That’s really sweet.”

“But the doilies can’t help the spiders?” Claire asked.

“Maybe they could, but I don’t know how I’d find the spiders that need them.   I think the other spiders know best how to help them, because they can speak spider language and we can’t,” Grandma said.

“Oh,” Claire said. She frowned.

“But I could teach you how to make a hat,” Grandma said. “We could make hats and give them to humans who have cold heads.” She smiled.

Claire smiled back. “I like to help,” she said.

“I know you do,” Grandma said. “I like that about you.”