Saturday, March 8, 2008

Contest Of Kindness

It's happened four times now. I've come out my front door to discover that someone has shoveled the snow off of my porch steps and walkway. No one in sight, no indication left behind as to who was responsible. I've called friends and neighbors to ask if they knew anything about it. No one has a clue (or at least they're not telling me). I feel like I should say thank you. I very much want to say thank you. But how do you do that when you don't know who to thank?
Every single time it's happened, it instantly brightened my day. I was so touched that someone would take the time and effort to do something kind, and then not expect any recognition for it. Two out of the four times, I was having a very stressful day. The kind where you (even if just for a moment) start to question the basic goodness of humanity. Walking out my door and coming face to face with such a simple but thoughtful act, completely turned my mood around.

Now, if you've been on this earth awhile, you may have noticed that like breeds like. In other words, from polar bears spring forth more polar bears, horses produce more horses (bear with me here, I do have a point), when someone does something nasty to us, we tend to want to retaliate with some nastiness of our own. When someone does something nice for us, we tend to want to go and put some more nice into the world. And that brings us to the point of this post. As my way of saying thank you to an anonymous person, and to pass the good along to others, I'm going to have a contest. Here's how you play - go do something nice for someone. It's that simple. Is there an old man who lives alone in a house not far from yours? Invite him to coffee. Have you been stressed out and so busy that you really haven't spent any real time with your kids lately? Set aside a half hour and play whatever they want to play. Do you know a struggling single parent? Anonymously place $10 in their mailbox. Call up the local animal shelter and ask if there are any supplies (pet shampoo, food, etc) that they could really use. Knit a pair of mittens and donate them to the retirement home. Leave your husband a note stating 10 reasons why he's wonderful. Take your mom for a pedicure. Buy a book from a friend's Amazon Wish List and mail it to them. It could be anything. Use your imagination. It can be as small or as large as you'd like. It doesn't have to cost money. It doesn't have to be anonymous (but bonus points if you can manage that).

And once you've done that, leave a comment in this post telling us about it. Comments will stay open until March 31st. I'll then place the names of everyone who's participated into a bowl, and draw one. You can enter more than once if you'd like - if you do five good deeds, your name goes in five times. The prize? You can have any one thing from my Etsy shop free of charge. Anything. It doesn't matter if it costs $5 or $50. I'll even pay for shipping. I add new things weekly, so your choices will continue to grow as the 31st approaches. Two more knitting needle cases in progress, that'll be going in the shop tomorrow:

In knitting news, here's how far I've gotten on the Child's Classic Ribbed Cardi:

One completed back, two fronts knit up to the armholes.

I've been stalled at this point for over a week now. The pattern in the book only goes up to a size 4 years, but I'm making it to fit a 6 year old Sophie. I had to recalculate the raglan slope on the back, and will have to do the same for the fronts and sleeves. It's not hard, but reaching that point on the front caused me to just set it aside for 'later'. I'm going to sit down with it tonight and get back on the road to progress.

**Comments are now closed on this contest**


Anonymous said...

I like to buy the girls selling Girl Scout cookies a box each to take home! I love to support them but don't want to eat the cookies. There aren't usually more than 4 or so girls so why not give THEM a box each for working so hard!

I'm KNITATHOME on RAVELRY (just about the coolest place on earth!)

Marcela said...

That's really awesome of you to spread the love. I'll have to think of something interesting and creative to do to post.

Kenyetta said...

Very awesome contest! I will do other acts of kindness this month but I always carry extra lunch with me to work. I have a co worker who discreetly asks for food everyday, so I just bring an extra to share, so not to embarrass her.

Tricia said...

What a great idea! I knit up a No Hair Cap for a friend who lost her hair to cancer treatment and sent it off to her. She was surprised when she got it and said people think she has hair till they get close enough to see the difference. I told her that at least she doesn't have to worry about any gray hairs right now LOL.

The next week I knit up a different cap and sent it to another friend who is going through a tough time since her Dad died (just a couple months after her mother). She was surprised when she got it in the mail and said it is so soft.

If I am picked, I have something in mind from your shop, but I would like it sent to an third friend of mine, instead of me,who just lost her husband and is going through a tough time of it. If I don't win, I will just make something and send to her instead. Thank you so much.

Francesca said...

This is probably the best contest I have heard about!

What I am doing these days is prepare some items (earrings, a necklace, rings..)which will be auctioned on ebay as a fundraiser for chinese orphans. It is the second time I donate to this fundraiser and I love the idea that what I make will enable some unlucky kid to attend school or to know the love of a foster family.
The money raised during the first fundraiser has sponsored two little cute girls from this organisation: (they do an awesome job!)

If you want to donate, get to know more about the kids who have been helped so far or be notified about the next fundraiser go here:

Dove Knits said...

Our pastor's wife just had their fifth child. To help out, my husband and I made them dinner (a very simple dinner) and brought it over. We thought we would just drop it off, but when we saw how overwhelmed the parents were when we got there, we stayed for several hours to entertain and take care of the older kids. Hopefully that helped the stressed-out parents, and we and the kids sure had fun.

anyakase said...

I have a grandfather that lives in Utah, that since my grandmother has past away, I have been going up to see him and work in his yards and gardens. He always use to do the work himself but he was diagnosed with Cancer this year and due to treatment he is not able to. So once a month I'm off, and he enjoys the company as well as having a pretty yard to look at. On the last trip he told me that a neighbor of his was admiring his garden and said how fortunate he was to have extended family that cared for him so. He went on to tell me that she had no children and that her husband passed about the same time as my grandmother. (a year ago) They had become good friends in a time when one was greatly needed. I noticed that her yard could use some work as well, so on my next regular visit I came up early and planted, raked and trimmed her yard before doing my grandfather's. I didn't tell either of them; she was so excited when she came out for her paper and saw the flowers up her walk and a leaf free lawn! I've never admitted to her that I did it and even though I eventually told my granddad he has never said anything to her. Now I keep an eye on both the yards so when they talk over their fence it's a nice place to do it. I enjoy the secret!

Anonymous said...

I made meals anonymously for families in my church this week.
kcatt79 on ravelry

fillyjonk said...

There is a lady who belongs to my church who stopped driving several years ago because she decided her eyes and her attention span were no longer up to the task.

So I drive her places now - I don't do it all the time, I share the duties with a couple of other people. But last night I drove her to a Women's Circle meeting and home again.

I do this mainly because when I was in college and had no car (no money for one, and no place to park it), when I needed to get somewhere that involved driving, there was always someone willing to drive me.

fillyjonk said...

(oops...I'm EricaFillyjonk on Ravelry, or

Take out the NOSPAM)

Samantha said...

What a great idea!

I mailed candy to someone stuck at home by himself for 2 weeks!

RetrogradeSonnet on ravelry

PS If I win, I'm going to do something similar on my blog!

Aunt Kathy said...

I have been knitting/crocheting squares for Close Knit Hugs who donates afghans to people who have gone through tragedies.

I have also started making blankets for a NASCAR charity Victory Junction Gang, every camper goes for free and leaves with a blanket and a teddy bear. They are all terminally ill children, it's a wonderful charity.

I have linked your contest to my blog, this is a wonderful idea.

habibekindheart said...

This is such a wonderful idea!

This month so far I've...cleaned house and sat with a friend who is in prelabor and kept a sick friend company. Alas, none of it is anonymous. I'm inspired to crochet some granny squares for heartmade blessings ( I'll get on that as soon as I'm done with this baby blanket. :)

habibekindheart on ravelry.

Black Sheep Knitting Guild said...

Please add Judith. . .she gives selflessly of her time and knit over 40 chemo caps for a charity fundraiser recently. She wanted only our guild to receive credit and did not want anyone to call attention to her personal contribution. In addition to all of the knitting she did, she created care labels and attached them to the 160 caps donated by our guild. We love her and think she's the cat's pajamas. Should she win, the random drawing, I can let her know. . .tanyatho on ravelry

malin said...

I do those random acts of kindness whenever I get the chance. Examples: An old man forgot to buy a bag at the grocery store, so I gave him my spare. I read a really inspiring book, so I sent it to my sister, because I knew she´d enjoy it. I knit socks for my sisters, niece, nephews, friends, friend´s children... they don´t knit, and have cold feet! I traded a book for yarn, but the book never reached its recipient, so now I´m sending her some goodies - I´d hate for her to go loosing out of our trade. I´m a vegan, so that´s a life of kindness, I think!

WannaGarden said...

What awesome stories, and a great idea!

For the past few years I've been making hats that are donated to a local shelter for homeless/at-risk teens. I started out with 50 hats an have worked my way up every year since, with a goal of donating 100 this year. I have 30 made so far, so it looks like my goal is realistic! : ) (I turn them in when it starts getting chilly in the fall)

cob_web said...

Best blog post ever :-)

I have done a few good deeds because of Ravelry recently. I sent some scraps of yarn that were no good to me all the way to the US so someone else could finish knitting something. She was really grateful, but the bits were worthless to me!

I've written up notes on a pattern I've knitted to help someone who was stuck.

My Gran had a stroke and broke her hip and fractured her wrist a few weeks ago. I knit her some handwarmers as she gets cold sitting still for so long.

Today I took in small bars of chocolate and left them on my collegues desks as they have been working hard.

Thanks for making me think about the good things!

I'm Cobweb on Ravelry

craftymom said...

I so totally belive in Random Acts of Kindness and try to do at least one per day. As far as your blog goes, I am knitting blankets for homeless animals in shlters and doing some afghan squares for a project for war Veterans at Walter Reed. This is such a great idea and I am definately going to do one on my blog. Thanks for making us all think of others. You deserve a prize yourself.
Crafty mom :)

Black Sheep Knitting Guild said...

Would you add two more acts for Judith? Last night she volunteered to provide a few raffle items for a local non-profit that is working to keep fresh water supplies here in Michigan clean.

And, she spent all night at our Monthly birthday party knitting a blanket for the local hospital to donate to a patient there.

Again, I'll let her know--tanyatho on ravelry

iwouldratherbeknitting said...

I'm always doing things for others.
I bought 50 pairs of warm gloves and mittens and sent them to Afghanistan (I had torn tendons in my thumb- so, I couldn't knit).

I sent an email out to the teachers at my school to send 'un-wanted/etc.' school supplies, extra pencils, rulers, scissors, notebooks, etc. and our school donated 21 boxes of school supplies that I mailed to Afghanistan. I work on a US Military base overseas-- so, I can send the packages to military connections and they donate things immediately to those in need.

I picked up some 'knitted slippers' for an older lady that I know- she saw a pair that I had purchased and she has trouble going up and down the stairs at the subway- so, I was happy to pick them up for her the next time that I was at the market.

I did something like this on my blog when I started my blog this fall- and I got some really nice comments from others. It was for Thanksgiving..

I think it's great that you're doing this. :D

kadezmom said...


I may have to copy you one day (and if I had a dime for each time I thought that, and each time I mean it)

Yesterday I called a coworker at home after training to let her know that her personal things had been boxed up (not fired, just get your junk off the desk, here it is, as IF that could be considered anything just other than just rude) I didn't call her to be a hero, to make myself look better, or to make the boxing up person look bad. I called so she would have time to react without prying eyes or emotions taking over. I'd do it again in a heartbeat, although it may cost me a bit of a problem with my job. I also gave my permission to say who told her.

And now I want to go cry for her.

I think I'll pray instead.
momohair on ravelry (and KNITATHOME, AMEN!)

Valerie said...

What a great idea and the comments you've received are very inspiring!

knittingpanda said...

I love this contest by the way I think that it is a great idea.
I have two acts of kindness they are both things that I did for my mother in law this week who has Crohns Disease and has been feeling sick this week.

The first thing that I did was I helped her special needs step children with there homework and watched them for a couple days for her so that she could rest.

The second thing I did this week was on days that she didn't have the kids I went over to her house and did her laundry and washed her dishes for her so that she wouldn't have to do them.

The best way to reach me is by messaging me on Ravelry where my screename is knittingpanda87

Katie O said...

I am making a delivery of crocheted and knitted items to the NICU at my local hospital. There are hats, booties and some burial buntings for the little ones that leave the world too soon. I just think about how much it might mean to someone... Great contest... makes me motivated to do something similar on my blog...

Anne said...

Great contest! Sheri from the Loopy Ewe did something like this in the fall and it was so inspiring for all of us to read the different ways knitters chose to express RAKs (I warn you, though, she got hundreds of posts every week!! Nice to think of all of those kind actions ....).

Canoni said...

What a great idea to put the idea of giving into a giveaway! I do feel a bit uncomfortable sharing my rac, since I usually don't tell anyone what I do like that. But, in the spirit of the contest, I will. Actually, your idea is making the gears turn...I live in a fairly small community of about 13,000. A secret pal family Easter basket today; with a note explaining it is a neighborly act of kindness. I'm going to go put it together now, and get my dd's in on the fun! We'll have to be sneaky little bunnies!!

Lil Knitter said...

My daughter and I just donated a huge bag of clothes she's outgrown to family in need. We do this at least twice a year since she grows so fast.

yarnprincess said...

What an absolutely lovely idea! And thank you for posting about the Smile Cards. I ordered my own and can't wait to post about them on my own blog. I know that your contest is over, but I will try to do something contest-worthy tomorrow! Maybe even tonight.