Also in the stack of dishcloth patterns was a pattern for a circular dishcloth. My mom deciphered the pattern for me because it involved some more things that I'd never done before, including short rows, casting off part of a row, and seaming. Again, the first one I did wasn't pretty, but it was the first thing I ever knit that wasn't square or rectangular. It was also my first clue that knitting things in different shapes wasn't as difficult as it seemed.
At this point I realized that the dishcloth was a good way to practice new techniques. I had an abundance of cheap cotton, and a dishcloth was small enough that if something didn't work out it would be okay to rip it back and fix it, or do the whole thing over. After cranking out about 20 round dishcloths I decided it was time to test out another technique, which I was pretty sure involved sorcery of some sort but thought I should actually try to figure out: cables. I found a pattern for a simple owl cable dishcloth which ended up being the perfect thing to learn cables with.
Where my grandma comes in is not just providing me with the tools and materials to start trying out new things, although that was a big part of it. Each new thing that I learned, my mom encouraged me to bring with me to show off to my grandma the next time I would see her. She would ooh and ahh about each item, even though I know she could barely see it, and she would always tell me that she was proud of me.
Last year Grandma requested that I make her a shawl out of a large ball of cream wool that had been part of the stash that she had given to me. I hadn't made anything with it yet so of course I was happy to oblige. I ended up crocheting the shawl roughly following this pattern, and it didn't take long to do. I don't think she ended up wearing it much, but in any case, she was thrilled.
I love you, Grandma!