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YOU MIGHT BE sporting one of Karen Williams’
beanie hats because you are an old friend of hers.
Or you might be a relative of whom she is fond.
You might be the especially nice barista at Star-bucks who gave her a big smile along with her
coffee. Maybe you are the little boy with the sad
face she met at a party.
Williams, a Denver-based German-English
technical translator, has been knitting since her
childhood. She was inspired by a Denver Public
Library “Knitting for the Troops” marathon and
decided to create her own marathon of knitting 50
hats by the end of 2009. A close friend suggested
the moniker Random Hats of Kindness, and the
hats, originally intended as holiday gifts for friends
and family, have now become, at times, gifts to
total strangers. Williams’ only condition is that the
recipients allow themselves to be photographed
for her collection of faces beaming with gratitude
and pleasure. She’s already topped her goal of 50
hats, with, she says, “no end in sight.”
“Sometimes I take one with me somewhere
to see if a recipient presents themselves,” she says.
Her own face shines with joy as she talks about the
hats, neatly folded in their usual spot on her living
room ottoman, waiting for future owners.
PHOTO COURTESY KAREN WILLIAMS
The hats are in a rainbow of colors, in variegated patterns, made with soft, lightweight cotton,
wool or natural blends. She spends about five
hours knitting each one. Williams has no interest
in selling them. The value is in the act of giving.
“And when I do give one to you,” she says, “we are
both giving and getting much more than a hat.”
—Irene Middleman Thomas
to fold ‘em
IN THIS ECONOMY, instead
of throwing in the towel,
John Pullum is using it to
His DVD, Folding Magic
shows him putting together 14
“towel origami” creations,
including 11 animals, without
glue, pins or Velcro. Each takes
from 90 seconds to about ;ve
minutes. The DVD has sold more
than 2,000 copies since 2007.
Fans include hotel and
bed-and-breakfast owners and
cruise-ship managers. “It’s an
added creative way of showing
guests you care,” says the
longtime Livonia, Michigan,
Costco member, who tests
designs on his three kids.
In addition to being a towel
folder, Pullum, 39, is a corporate
speaker and has appeared on
and hosted more than two
dozen specials for the Discovery
Channel, including the series
More Than Human.
appearances on Ed Sullivan’s I gravitated toward perfor- Mr. Weeds goes to Costco a c m the deep value and wide variety of Jack Stehlin
PHOTOS BY ENCI
John Houseman, comes from
a long line of performers. His
great-uncle Con Colleano,
the wirewalker on Circus
Theatricals’ logo, is in the
International Circus Hall of
Fame for being the ;rst person
in recorded history to do a
toe-to-toe forward somersault
on a wire. Stehlin’s mother and
her siblings were The Juggling
Colleanos, made famous by TV
appearances on Ed Sullivan’s
and Sid Caesar’s shows. “It
was probably only natural that
I gravitated toward performance,” he says.
WHILE THE PERFORMERS (above)
at Los Angeles’ nonpro;t theater
company Circus Theatricals
starving artists, they do appreciate
the deep value and wide variety of
Costco’s products, according to artistic
director Jack Stehlin, better known as
At Costco, he is regularly
approached by customers who refer
to him as Detective Till. “It’s always
a very pleasant conversation,”
he says. “I’d like to think people
love Detective Till as
much as I do.”
Detective Roy Till on Showtime’s hit series Weeds.
“I started shopping at Costco years ago, so I guess
Costco is in show business in some indirect way,”
The Juilliard graduate and Acting Company veteran,
who has shared the stage with Kevin Kline, Al Pacino and