Were you paying attention yesterday?
If you read this blog, I'm sure you're either a friend/relative of mine, or you're really into knitting and have therefore heard of the Yarn Harlot. And if you've heard of her, you probably also know she had a blog. If you've read the Yarn Harlot blog, you know she's hilarious and informative and you probably check in with her quite regularly. So I may be telling you something you already know.
But, in case you missed it, something fantastic happened yesterday because of her blog.
She's been preparing for a bike ride that benefits an AIDS organization. She has mentioned the preparation a lot, but has really asked for donations only a couple times. Yesterday she was auctioning off a shawl she made to the highest bidder, and the proceeds of the sale were going to the bike race fundraising. She mentioned at the end of yesterday's post that one blog reader said that if she were to raise an additional $1000, this reader would send her a check for an additional $1000. She ended the post saying something like, "even a $5 donation will add up when paired with others, like stitches on a sweater," and she gave a direct link to her donation page.
Inspired by the generosity of the reader that made the $1000 offer, understanding the "it all adds up" reference, and having the easy link right there was the right combination for me to pull the trigger. And I wasn't alone. When I donated in the early afternoon, her total was somewhere in the $16,000 range. This morning, less than 24 hours later, she just made it over $25,000 (and I'm guessing this might not even include the $1000 match from the blog reader yet).
I was amazed by the generosity of the people who read her blog, and, from the looks of her twitter feed, she was, too. It was an amazing jump in her fundraising total in such a short time. All she had to do was ask, and The Knitters responded.
I listen to a podcast called "The Knitting Pipeline". Not too long ago, Paula, the host, suggested that groups of knitters should be called a "Kindness". Just like a "school" of fish or a "gaggle" of geese, we would be a "kindness" of knitters. Since I began knitting, I have received almost exclusively kindness from other knitters. From my friend Kristin who taught me the very basics, to Paula who convinced me that I could learn any technique that I wanted to and that I absolutely could follow a pattern. The knitters who purchased my first couple attempts at patterns were extremely kind when they would e-mail to ask questions about something that wasn't written as clearly as it could have been, or who alerted me to errors in my math before I learned how to consistently figure things correctly, they almost exclusively did it with a spirit of understanding and helpfulness. Their kindness helped me learn how to provide better patterns going forward.
I still experience the kindness of knitters every time I run a test knit. I would love to be able to pay people to test my patterns, but at this point, there are designs that don't have enough sales to even cover the cost of the yarn I knit the sample out of. So for the time being, I rely on the test groups on Ravelry. The testers get the patterns for free in exchange for confirming that the numbers in the pattern are accurate and providing feedback on the clarity of the pattern and the fit of the garment. I know that people are only volunteering for the things they actually want to knit, but they could just as easily wait a couple months for the kinks to get worked out of a pattern and be able to knit it without any worries of something being inaccurate. I think it takes a very special heart to want to help a designer work the kinks out, and to send their valuable time providing feedback so the designer can publish a better product.
Other designers have also shown themselves to be generous souls. Any time I have a question or can't decide how to best word something, all I have to do is post a thread to one of the Ravelry designers' groups I am a member of, and within the hour, I'll get all sorts of advice. These people are (technically) my competition, but you'd never know it from the way we help each other out. On the rainbow dress I just posted about, I was stumped as to how to work pleats from the top-down. It's a simple technique when done from the bottom-up, but I wanted the bodice of the dress to be easily adjustable in case a child needed the width of a larger size but not the length, or vice versa. And adjusting length is a lot easier when done from the top-down than the other way around. Anyway, I asked the pleats question on one of the designer's forums, and people kicked it around for days. I got many suggestion from helpful designers, but it wasn't until about the 20th suggestion that someone hit upon the answer that worked. The point is, the other designers didn't ignore my plea for help just because they didn't know the answer...they threw out ideas and built upon the ideas of others until someone finally figured out exactly how it could be done. And you know what? It worked out great!
So the Yarn Harlot's fundraising miracle only underlined for me what I already knew was the truth: you'll be hard pressed to find a group of people who are more generous than knitters. I am a lucky girl to belong to that group, and I hope you are one of us, too!