Thursday, 20 October 2011

Penguins Need Jumpers

Poor little mites! New Zealand's Little Blue Penguins or Fairy Penguins are being affected by the Taurunga oil spill. I'm probably a bit behind the curve here, esp as New Zealand is heading into Spring/Summer. But I read about the story only this morning. 
The Taurunga oil spill off the coast of New Zealand unleashed 2,500 barrels of heavy fuel into a fragile ecosystem, coating thousands of local seabirds in oil. This puts many of them — particularly the mind-meltingly adorable Little Blue Penguin — at serious risk of freezing and/or being poisoned to death. We know, we know. After today's news from Ohio, there's only so much animal suffering you can take. But you can actually help, particularly if you know how to knit.
A call put out by asks for the world to send in penguin sweaters, which will keep them warm and prevent them from preening and swallowing the toxic oil on their feathers until workers can remove it. A decade ago, a similar incident in the region asked for "penguin jumpers," and many Little Blues have already been outfitted from whatever stockpiles were left over.
Interested? Of course you are! Here are patterns and instructions from,, and Etsy. Get stitching. 

Here's one pattern:

Penguin Jumper in 8ply  - Must be 100% Wool Yarn

1 pair 3.25mm , 1 pair of 3.75mm needles , 1 set of 3.25mm dpn’s or circular

Cast on 36 stitches using 3.25 needles.K1, P1 to end of row. 

Repeat this row 7 times.  

Change to 3.75mm needles and K2, P2 rib. Work 4 rows increasing at each end of every row. (44 sts)
Continue until work measures 15 cms.
Decrease 1 st at each end of every row until 28 sts remain.
Decrease 1 st. in middle of next row (27 sts.)

Leave on needle.

Make second side the same.

Transfer the 54 sts from both pieces to 3 of the set of 4 3.25mm needles.(18 sts on each.) and work a round neck in K1 P1 rib for 10 rows.
Cast off.
Stitch up sides to decreasing to 27sts (opening for flipper). Add elastic to the top and bottom to prevent the penguins getting out of them. Top: 15cm of elastic; bottom 17 cm (knots allowed). Flat elastic OK.

Here's another that looks a little easier for beginners like me:

8 ply pattern

8 ply wool or blend 
1 pair of No.9 (4mm) knitting needles 

METHOD: Back (repeat exactly the same for the Front) 
Cast on 36 sts. 

K1 P1 to the end of the row. Repeat this row 7 times. 
Change to K2P2 and inc.1 st. at each end of this and the next 4 rows. 
Continue until work measures 10cm. This is a bit shorter than the original 
pattern but we have found that it works better. {side} 
Decrease 1 st. at each end of every row until 28 stitches. {flipperhole} 
Dec. 1 st. in the middle of the next row. (27 sts.)
K1 P1 for 16 rows. {neck} 
Cast off loosely. 
Make the 2nd side exactly the same as the first. 
Using a flat stitch like mattress stitch, sew the sides together and the neck 
leaving the flipperholes open.

Mail finished Jumpers to: 
Penguin Foundation 
C/- P.O. Box 97 
Cowes  Victoria  Australia  3922

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