This is the process I used to pick the winner of the scarf in my 10th Weaving Anniversary giveaway.
(1) Every comment posted on my blog is sent to me as an email. I put all the comments on the anniversary post into a separate folder as they came in (unless they were replies from me, of course. That would have been a bit daft). There were 61 entrants altogether.
(2) When the draw closed, I made myself a spreadsheet. I used a funky little Add-In to Excel called ASAP utilities which went through the folder where the comments were saved and imported all the names into a list in my spreadsheet. (By the way, if you spend too much of your life conducting tedious operations in Excel, then you need this Add-In.)
(3) A lot of dross was also imported — umpteen repeats of “firstname.lastname@example.org”, for instance — so I used ASAP again to strip all that out.
(4) The saving and importing process automatically sorted everyone into alphabetical order by name, which seemed as good an order as any so I left that as it was. At this stage, therefore, everyone was allocated a number from 1 to 61, based on the row of the spreadsheet where their name appears.
I know, I know. But if I resize it to fit on the page then the writing is too small to read! Click to biggify or just have a look at this close-up:
And, yes, that is Cookie Monster in my browser. I like Cookie Monster, OK?
(6) I looked back at the list, and number 14 is Denice McMechan — so she wins the scarf.