Call for Penguin Sweaters


No, that’s not a snarky headline. There are penguins at risk from freezing because of an oil spill, and they need knitters to make sweaters. Save a penguin in New Zealand.

Pattern is here. I can’t find a crochet pattern, so I may lean on Lani to make one and then I’ll figure it out looking at hers. Also: must be of wool to keep the little buggers warm.

Wish I knew how to post pictures to the comments. I’d love to see what you come up with.

Filed in Animals, Pictures

48 Comments to 'Call for Penguin Sweaters'

On October 20, 2011 at 3:26 am Julie said...

Jenny, is this true? Wow. I can’t read the story, I will cry. But… I’ll send Daniel over here as soon as he gets off work so he can click the links and get started right away.

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On October 20, 2011 at 3:41 am Jenny said...

It evidently happened before, and they’re re-using some of the sweaters from then. Plus it’s gone viral, so I’m pretty sure New Zealand is shortly going to have the best-dressed penguins in the world. But yes, it’s true, I checked Snopes:

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On October 20, 2011 at 7:30 am MaineBetty said...

I have been talking myself in to trying knitting again, to avoid a serious Angry Birds addiction. This will do it. I feel so sad about the lions and tigers and all the beautiful animals that were killed, I need to do something good for some animals, that doesn’t involved kibble or tuna flakes.

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On October 20, 2011 at 8:28 am Betty Fokker said...

That made me long for “teh birds”

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On October 20, 2011 at 4:42 pm MaineBetty said...

I was showing a friend how easy it was to download apps to the iPad, and got the free sample. Wow, waaay too fun, and easy to keep going going going going…

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On October 20, 2011 at 7:56 am Rox said...

I don’t think they re-use the sweaters, because the salt water eventually disintegrates them. I think what happens is that when the call goes out for penguin sweaters (as it has before), knitters hear about it and they end up with a warehouse full of extras, which they can then use the next time there’s an oil spill. (Because there’s always a next time, unfortunately.)

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On October 20, 2011 at 8:27 am Betty Fokker said...

It is horrible about the oil spill, so I almost feel guilty about the fact I think penguins in sweaters are the cutest. things. ever.

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On October 20, 2011 at 9:01 am Megan Coakley said...

My mother is on it! She has a long line of grandsons waiting for fuzzy socks, but they’ll just have to take a back seat to the penguins. They’ll understand, I mean, they’re penguins. In sweaters.

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On October 20, 2011 at 9:34 am Annie said...

This is one of the rare viral things that I am delighted to participate in. Terrifyingly, my mom saw this and “sponsored” me a completely insane amount of random wool, which is on the way and will be delivered today.

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On October 20, 2011 at 10:42 am hollygee (Bettina) said...

Craft magazine has updated the penguin sweater notice to say that they have enough, but encourage people to keep knitting/crocheting but going here, instead:

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On October 20, 2011 at 11:54 am Tracey said...

the spill is appalling, and the generosity of the intertubes community incredible (as always) but given my personal experience with wool sweaters and water, I have ask…doesn’t the wool shrink?

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On October 20, 2011 at 3:14 pm Robin S. said...

Only in too warm/hot water. The sweaters should be okay as penguins won’t be generating that kind of heat and their water is never that warm. What the oil and salt will do that wool is a whole other ball game.

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On October 20, 2011 at 1:56 pm Sure Thing said...

Oil spill- awful. Knitting for penguins – awesome.

Just, shouldn’t the colours be penguin-shades so as to keep them safe from predators.

Also, for the win – responsible blogging, this is what it looks like “I checked Snopes.” Far too many don’t and as ever, you are a good example and not a horrible warning.

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On October 20, 2011 at 3:21 pm EmmeSulis said...

Wish I could knit, but I’m “string impaired.” I’ve seen these calls for penguin jumpers before. The sweaters probably do help to keep them warm, but I’ve heard the main reason for the them is to keep the penguins from preening their feathers and, therefore, swallowing the toxins in the oil spill. They ask for wool because it will disintegrate naturally, unlike many man-made fibers.

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On October 20, 2011 at 3:23 pm Jenna Rosner said...

Pengiun sweaters…..I know pengiuns are incredibly nearsighted but how do they get the tops on them?? I’ve never wrestled a penguin, nor do I want to, but it just seems they wouldn’t be too happy having something on that does now belong there. Wow, this is a new one on me! I’ll check out the pattern!

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On October 20, 2011 at 3:30 pm Jenna Rosner said...

Oh just hell…..double pointed needles! I haven’t learned how to use them yet but maybe I’ll figure something out.

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On October 20, 2011 at 4:46 pm Kat said...

By the time the pattern reaches the double pointed needles, you’ll be knitting in the round So there’s no trick really. You just knit as you normally would and knit right off the ends of the needles. Maybe this is a little confusing. See if this helps: 4 dp needles, let’s call them Needles 1, 2, 3, and 4. Divide the stitches evenly onto Needles 1, 2, and 3 (the pattern calls for something like 60 stitches, for easy math we’ll just say 20 stitches per needle). Now, with the right side facing you, pick up Needle 4 and begin knitting stitches from Needle 1 (go ahead use either point). The Needles 2 and 3, with their 20 stitches apiece, dangle free. When you get to the end of the stitches on Needle 1 there will be 20 stitches on Needle 4 and 0 stitches on Needle 1. Needle 1 will be free. Now here’s the trick; making sure to use the other point on Needle 1 (wink, wink)… begin knitting the stitches from Needle 2 onto Needle 1. Got that? Continue until you’re done. Sometimes the stitches between needles get a little bit loose, so give the yarn a bit of a tug when you transfer. Oh, and it’s useful to place a marker at the beginning of the round for easy tracking.

Hope this helps, and I love the examples that have gone with a tuxedo theme. Smart ass– the universal language of fun.

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On October 20, 2011 at 9:52 pm Muria said...

You could always try circular needles, which feels a little less like wrestling an octopus with stiff legs. DPN’s are easier than they look, really.
Unfortunately, most of my stash is acrylic yarn. I have two small balls of 100% wool, which might make a single penguin sweater between them.
However, they do have enough right now:

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On October 21, 2011 at 11:58 am Annie said...

DPNs are not that bad. Honest. I just learned to use them, sort of, to make hexipuffs, and they are way easier to use for the penguin sweater. Once you start using them, it makes more sense. You do need markers and those little things to keep the stitches from slipping off. At least I do.

If you truly loathe them, you could try magic loop with a circular, but I cannot do magic loop at all. I am working myself up to requesting some sort of remedial magic loop for the utterly inept and very easily frustrated at my LYS. They’ll mock me, but they’ll help. Probably.

What I am finding difficult to get a handle on is where the elastic goes. At the very top and bottom? Confused! No penguin available for testing! Dogs are HIDING.

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On October 20, 2011 at 3:51 pm Deborah Blake said...

Oil spills….grrrrr….

I’m afraid that knitting isn’t in my skill set (and I doubt that my jewelry-making would be all that helpful…although they would be the best dressed penguins anywhere). So I’ll just send oodles of support to all those who are knitting.

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On October 20, 2011 at 9:43 pm Muria said...

Penguins in chainmail!

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On October 28, 2011 at 1:25 am truestarr said...

except the poor things would probably sink like a stone…

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On October 20, 2011 at 5:42 pm Bonnie C said...

I saw the article the other day and almost came over here to post a link… this is SO up the Argh alley. ;p I, too, would love to see end results if you figure out how to make it so!

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On October 20, 2011 at 5:48 pm Bonnie C said...

Oh! You could have people email you the pix then put them all up in a follow up post? Because, you know, you have nothing better to do than curate a Penguin Rescue Jumper Exhibit… like the six books you’re writing and the house you’re renovating from 2 (3?) states away… you know. Like that. :)

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On October 20, 2011 at 6:09 pm robena grant said...

Wish I could knit. But you know, those Fairy Penguins. They’d look at my poor attempt at a jumper and shake their heads no, and then stand in line and wait for an original Crusie.

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On October 20, 2011 at 6:58 pm MaryG said...

Just checked on Ravelry – there’s a thread in the Kiwi Crafting forum that contains a nascent crochet pattern…

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On October 20, 2011 at 8:49 pm Jen said...

I posted this on my facebook yesterday! I wish I knew how to knit! Thanks for posting, I love penguins!

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On October 21, 2011 at 12:06 am Becky said...

The beautiful thing about penguins– they don’t care if your tension is wonky or you drop a stitch. I’d say a project like this is the perfect opportunity to learn how to knit! Most yarn shops hold classes, or you could talk to any knitters you know. Most of us are happy to spread the knitting love whenever we can.

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On October 21, 2011 at 10:28 am Jen said...

Thats a great idea Becky, it’s probably a better place to start than say scarves for Christmas presents… I can just see the look on my family’s faces as they open their wonky scarves…. penguin sweaters would be a better place to start! I don’t think they’d complain or look at me funny!

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On October 21, 2011 at 12:10 pm Annie said...

Do it, Jen! Learn to knit! I scared myself out of knitting for years, and then there was a Jenny post about yarn and I just suddenly started. It is fun and truly not hard! There are any number of excellent books and also all sorts of youtube videos (yes. I learned to join in the round from youtube, because I couldn’t believe it was as simple as the books said.)

I feel compelled to tell you, though – knitting is the gateway to yarn, and yarn – yarn is *amazing*. Thus far, I have been unable to determine an amount of yarn that is too much yarn to stash. I am reasonably confident that if I ever move, the moving truck will contain (in no particular order): dog toys, yarn/needles/markers/etc, quilting fabric/thread/batting/bobbins/etc, sewing machines, orchids, books and random cookery stuff.

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On October 21, 2011 at 2:47 pm Jenny said...

I crochet, so my yarn stash is, uh, huge. As in lines three walls of my bedroom.
I keep telling myself that I don’t drink, do drugs, wear designer clothes, or lavish money on younger men, so yarn is really a healthy addiction.
Lani says when I die, she wants my stash. I said I’m going to buried with it but that’s a bluff. I’d need a mausoleum.

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On October 21, 2011 at 6:07 pm Jen said...

That sounds great! I’m going to try, I think it’s all in my head the fear of the complexity of knitting or crocheting… dog toys with yarn?! sounds amazing, sign me up!

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On October 21, 2011 at 10:11 pm Robin S. said...

The book “Stitch n Bitch” by Debbie Stoller is a really good one for beginners. It’s easy to understand and the diagrams are clear. Go for it!

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On October 22, 2011 at 10:54 am Annie said...

yes. some of the dog toys are felted. there’s this thing – amigurumi – crocheted toys that the japanese make – and someone gave me patterns for them that had been converted to knitting and I made some out of scrap wool, which then the dog stole one and when I washed it, it felted. and he really couldn’t be kept away from it then. So I just felted all the rest. sometimes the sounds of the dogs squeaking their teeth on them makes me have chills along my spine, but they don’t destroy them (unlike toys made of monster fur) and thus my bed is not full of polyfill and the dustbunnies are all pethair, no monster fur.

another very excellent learning to knit book is knitting in plain english, by maggie righetti. it is extremely unpretentious and slightly snarky. the diagrams are good and the explanations are really clear. I want it for kindle or iPad or something. but really, most LYS have a class that’s <$15 and they give you a ball of yarn and some nice bamboo size 8 needles, or else the class is free and you buy your own yarn and needles. I learned in SLC, and it is not the fault of the ladies at the store that I have a serious problem with madeleine tosh and noro yarns.

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On October 20, 2011 at 10:05 pm J said...

It looks like there’s a crochet pattern here:

I hope the penguins all get very warm very soon!

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On October 20, 2011 at 10:20 pm P3ngu1nLuvr said...

This is perhaps the most important societal contribution since sliced bread. Thanks for posting!

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On October 21, 2011 at 5:20 am Reb said...

I’m from NZ, and want to say thank you for highlighting this horrible wreck. They’ve cleaned up the beaches pretty quick but the photos of birds make me cry.

There’s been a fantastic response to the request for jumpers. I read a couple of days ago that they’ve got enough for current demand, but as you’re saying, there’s always another wreck somewhere.

And they’re pumping the oil off the ship as fast as they can but that’s pretty glacial. As of tonight, there’s still over 1100 litres on there and they don’t know if they’ll get it all off before the ship breaks up.

So far they’ve found about 1300 dead birds and they’re caring for about 300 oiled birds. The good news is there hasn’t been any oil leaked for days and the number of oiled birds is dropping fast, thank God.

This is a good article about the recovery centre.

When the birds come in, they’re too stressed to wash at once, so the rescuers wait a couple of days. but the birds try and preen themselves during that time, so they’re eating utterly foul oil and getting sicker. They put jumpers on them during that stage to stop them preening. Very clever!

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On October 21, 2011 at 5:28 am Reb said...

Oh, and by the way, if anyone’s thinking of canceling a trip to New Zealand because of oiled beaches, we’d appreciate it if you came anyway. Almost everywhere is cleaned up so there’s almost no oil or debris left on beaches and whole area’s still beautiful. it’s dependent on tourism and locals are scared about the effect the spill will have on their businesses. Visitors would be appreciated!

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On October 21, 2011 at 2:48 pm Jenny said...

New Zealand is gorgeous, as is Australia. I’d emigrate if it weren’t for family.

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On October 21, 2011 at 6:28 am Clever Cherry said...

Oil spills suck. I can’t knit or crochet but I think it’s great all the wonderful people who can and are doing it for penguins, who definitely don’t suck.

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On October 21, 2011 at 11:15 am JC said...

Thanks to all of you who are helping with the sweaters, I think its a great cause. I also think the pic is hilarious. Captions for what the 2 ‘guins are thinking would be fun too.
Speaking of fun, Jenny, pleeeease may we have still another wonderful post from you? Pleeeeeease? You exist to entertain us, isn’t that right? Sorta like the Roman gladiators or something? Or that credit card commercial where the celebs would say something like ” Mastercard, amuse me “. (Yes thats like 20 years ago, I am old, so that is ‘fresh and hip’ for me.)
What? You have a life? Oh. Well. Nevermind.

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On October 21, 2011 at 2:48 pm Jenny said...

Mostly I don’t have anything to say except about the book I’m wrestling into shape. But I have about seventy (no lie) rough drafts for posts, some dating back five years, so there might be something in there. Probably not.

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On October 22, 2011 at 4:39 am Sure Thing said...

Possibly, yes. After all, we are the people who read your grocery list. And commented.

But I’m rootin’ for another damn book. I’m sure we can amuse ourselves instead.

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On October 21, 2011 at 1:04 pm CrankyOtter said...

Caption option:
Lenny was going for a traditional wedding tux look, but Larry wanted to to be Fabulous on their special day.

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On October 25, 2011 at 4:03 pm JC said...

LOL!!! Nailed it!

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On October 21, 2011 at 6:46 pm colognegrrl said...

Seems we rather post comments to the picture. My caption option:

” I don’t care where you heard about it, Lorna, but you must have gotten it wrong with that Crusie woman and her ‘Angry Birds’ wedding knit stuff.”

“I know, Cindy, that was no casting at all. What do you say we apply for ‘Die Hard in Antarctica’ instead?”

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On October 21, 2011 at 8:17 pm Reb said...

Hi everyone, the latest news is that the vets here aren’t using the sweaters. It sounds like they’ll be taken by an Aussie group, maybe.

Unfortunately, I’d say there’s more useful things to do with your yarn than penguin sweaters now.

Please pass this onto anyone you know who may be knitting!

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On October 21, 2011 at 11:06 pm Leigh said...

Okay, I have the expertise, and the dpns, but my time has been eaten up between a deadline and visiting important-to-me people in hospital. However–to anyone worried about Ozzie birds in need of a stylin’ jumper–I am a hoarder of all skeins bright and beautiful. I have a stash, and a generous heart. Need I say more?

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