I then decided to build on her skills by having her do an honest-to-goodness pattern. I was going for a project that required just basic skills, and small enough that it wouldn't wear out her enthusiasm. So I invented a wee dishcloth pattern for her.
I wrote the instructions in very natural language, so that she wouldn't have to worry about any abbreviations. I also refused to tell her what it was going to look like, so the heart motif in the middle emerged as a surprise. :)
I call it 'Elizabeth's First Pattern', and I made it free on Ravelry so others could enjoy it, too.