5 days – 5 photos Challenge Nana’s Web


I am currently taking part in the 5 Photos – 5 days challenge after being nominated by Dorne from https://dorneawhale.wordpress.com. Below is my photo and writing for Day 4, inspired by this photo of a frost-coated spider’s web.

Firstly, the rules are as follows:

‘Post a photo each day for five consecutive days, and tell a story about each photo. The story can be truth or fiction, poetry or prose.  Each day one must also nominate a fellow blogger to participate in the challenge.’

Day 4.  Nana’s Web


‘Are you sure, Alicia?’ asks Nana dubiously, maintaining the steady rhythm of her crochet needle, then pausing for a moment as she studies my childish conviction.

‘Yes, Nana, please, let me try,’ I plead, leaning over her handiwork and studying the fine web design.

‘It’s just you’ve never shown any inclination to crochet before.’

Even I realise the truth of her observation, as the eight-year-old me is either deep into a book, playing football outside or creating adventures for my barbie dolls inside. My bike is my freedom and I think I know the little French village we now live better than anyone in my family.

‘I do want to learn though,’ I say, smiling my toothless grin which never fails!

‘Fetch my handicraft case then.’

Happily I scuttle to the spare room where my grandparents are sleeping during their visit to us. Like a leech I have stuck to their sides since their arrival. With them in the house they are making the strange and frightening all the more familiar, I just don’t want them to go, for the strangeness to return.

Back on the sofa I snuggle next to Nana, hip to hip, the two of us, legs tucked up and to the side. She hands me the unfamiliar tool and picking up another I hold them at the end and I start tapping them together as if they were toy drumsticks. I feel a shudder of frustration by my side and calmly Nana replaces the needle in my left hand to her case, her frown transforming into a smile.

‘Here, like this,’ she says, taking my right hand in hers and placing my finger towards the curved end of the needle. Next she loops the fine thread onto my fingers of my other hand and then she guides me to crochet! I am actually crocheting and with her hands now patiently showing mine what to do I manage a few patterns. Her spoken instructions drift like feathers upon my skin, soft, gentle, ticklish but unfathomable as I am awed by the magic I’m creating.

I settle down next to Nana and crochet. She’s always so at peace and content when crocheting, even though she works at lightening speed. I want to be like that and I try very hard, but it’s a slow arduous task. Raising the thread to her mouth Nana nips it off and with a swift twist round her finger she has finished. One more table cloth with its delicate beautiful design is put onto the table with the others. Crocheting was something I wanted to do so badly, honestly. I thought I could do it, but it will take weeks, months, years. I will not concede…too quickly.

So I crochet; all the time looking at Nana’s wondrous creations, the finest threads looped into amazing patterns. All from her mind. That is magic to me. I look at my rough work, then at her art. My head drops a few more angles and quiet sigh follows quiet sigh.

Suddenly the door-bell rings and my friend enters, calling out my name.

‘Nana…’ I start to say.

‘Alicia, you go and have fun with your friend,’ she replies, placing my handiwork onto her lap.

‘Thanks, see you later and I’ll finish it later,’ I promise. A promise I know and Nana knows I will never fulfil. She won’t mind and knowing Nana she will have rescued my first attempt and completed it by the time I’m home. That’s just who she is!

I would like to nominate Esther at https://esthernewtonblog.wordpress.com to carry on this challenge. I realise this is not her usual type of posts but if she has the time I know we would all enjoy reading her writings and seeing her photos. If she decides to go ahead, I hope she enjoys the challenge as much as I am and look forward to seeing her photographs / writing posts!

20 thoughts on “5 days – 5 photos Challenge Nana’s Web

  1. What a treat to read this story about your grandmother as it was made available along with the featured story about your grandfather on Adrienne Morris’ blog. Your grandmother had such patience to work with a small child and teach her the stitches to create something magical – a lace web. She understood that you were many years from the commitment needed to make a tablecloth, and she let you work at your childish pace. And gave you a memory to last a lifetime. Lovingly told, Annika. Thank you.

    1. Shari, thank you so much for following the links and reading these much older posts. You read the situation just right…I was never a gifted child at these handiwork crafts, far too impatient, but this memory of her helping me has lived with all these years and is so precious. I was always in awe of her ability to create such beautiful table cloths and every Christmas I treasured the ones I received as presents…they still make an appearance on special occasions. Thank you for your loving warm comment and bringing a smile to my heart. ❤️😀

  2. Pingback: Family Histories: LOSS OF A PATRIARCH – Nothing Gilded, Nothing Gained-Period Drama on Paper at Middlemay Farm

    1. Thank you Dorne. I have never heard of knitting with a loom and am now intrigued. I’m trying to picture this. When I was younger we had a small loom on which we made table clothes. I am always very impressed with people who still have these skills and yes, therapeutic – so calming and possible to immerse yourself in the task.

    1. Thank you Marjma and so glad you enjoyed the writing. As you might have guessed this featured my grandmother. Look out for todays final photo challenge post as this involves photos over sixty years old and is about my grandfather.

  3. Peter R

    I don’t know about crocheting, but I never fail to be amazed when I see spider’s webs with the morning dew on them. The skill of the little (and big) spiders to create something so perfect in one night. Being able to reproduce that with just a ball of yarn and a needle must take tremendous artistry and patience,

    1. I agree Peter, the spiders produce such artistry during the night, all that work and it is magical to take an early morning walk and catch sight of them with the dew drops glittering on them. Then the sun warms them further and they so often disappear. Ahh…luckily the cloths and other items crocheted last for decades and passed down over generations, a unique and special heirloom.

  4. Mike

    Great story – and that’s from someone who has never croched! Love the picture too and the story reflects this very well.


    1. Thanks Mike. A true story as so many readers have guessed. Just wanted to write it slightly away from myself. Could not see you crocheting!! My son tried knitting at school, a boy who usually excels at everything and when he told me I laughed. He had never tried and rather sardonically replied, ‘I suck’. Rather like his parents then!

    1. How true:-) I think to a child the word patience does not exist unless it is doing something they absolutely love. I never did learn to crochet but managed some tapestry and cross-stitch. Did you keep the crocheting up? Quite a rare skill nowadays I think. Thanks for visiting and lovely to have a chat.

  5. Mirja

    Your story is beautiful and a powerful song of love. Of trust, warmth and
    safety of generations living in harmony together.
    I also remember both my Grandmas clearly and each in their specific way gave me
    so much.
    My crocheting, embroidery and other handicraft skills I learnt from my very patient
    and joyful mother.
    Your photo of the Spider web is so very like a pattern that often was repeated. Makes me
    wonder if inspiration was originally drawn from there.

    1. The spiders web was definitely the inspiration for this ‘story’ and just brought this wonderful moment to life for me again. I’m so impressed with people who still have these skills and find it it sad that what was so normal and everyday has become rare and nearly lost to the majority of us. But whom am I to say anything. It must have been very peaceful for them all gathered together, doing their handicraft. I think it is still more common in America?

  6. What a beautiful story. Both of my Grandma’s have been gone for so many years, but this is a wonderful reminder of the role they played in my life. They are both my greatest inspirations.

    1. Thank you so much for your kind words. I think it’s a treasure in life to have grandmothers who are inspiring but it is hard when they are gone. As the years pass I realise that my Mormor (mother’s mother) helped form me as a person so much more than I knew and I see her joy of life and openness reflected in my son. How I wish she had lived to see him. I digress…lovely to chat and I wish you a good rest of the day.

  7. This brought back such sweet memories. When I was ten, I helped cross stitch a tablecloth in the back yard with my grandmother. Years later she presented me the completed cloth on my wedding day. Thanks so much for sharing your story.

    1. Thank you so much for your warm comment. What a special wedding gift for you and one to treasure for life. These memories of being with our grandmothers are so precious and writing the piece today reawakened so many warm and joyful feelings within me, tinged of course with sadness and loss. Thanks for visiting. 🙂

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