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Where the Internet Shines: Penguin Sweaters

By cp in Internet
Mon May 21, 2001 at 08:00:41 AM EST
Tags: You Know... (all tags)
You Know...

Forget e-commerce. Forget grassroots political organizing. And forget about knitting any more sweaters for the penguins at Phillip Island, Australia; they've got lots.

Phillip Island is located south-east of Melbourne, Australia, and is home to 26,000 fairy penguins ("look at the little punim!") on a 340-hectare penguin reserve.

In January, 2000, a oil spill near Phillip Island presented a two-pronged threat to the local fairy-penguin population: besides poisoning themselves by preening their feathers and thereby consuming the oil, the contaminated penguins were rendered unable to swim because of the disruption of natural waterproofing oils on their feathers.

Rescue workers rose to the occasion but found it difficult to keep the penguins warm and to keep them from ingesting the oil. They eventually hit upon the idea of dressing the penguins in doll sweaters, and a call went out on the Internet for knitters to send in penguin-sized wool sweaters.

With all due respect to the knitters I've known (and being someone who has myself taken up knitting), I have to say knitters are some of the most insane people around (willie warmers, anyone?) with a compulsive thirst for new projects. It is therefore no surprise that knitters responded in droves. Since the pattern is so simple (knit a few here, purl a few there), even sixth-graders got into the act, learning how to knit and sending shipments of sweaters off to their feathered friends. All told, more than a thousand sweaters have arrived at the reserve, thanks to "the power of the Internet".

And that's plenty. Please don't send any more penguin sweaters. If you need a new Internet-driven cause to champion, consider instead the plight of Sooty, the Himalayan guinea pig who garnered celebrity notoriety last year when he escaped from his pen and tunneled into a cage of 24 female guinea pigs, whom he managed to impregnate in one night of orgiastic abandon. Though Sooty's 43 piglet progeny were subsequently found homes, Sooty's farm in South Wales is closed to visitors because of the foot-and-mouth-disease epidemic. His owners are finding it financially difficult to support him and his fellow furry farm friends and so are soliciting donations. Cash or check, but please, no sweaters.


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Related Links
o sweaters for the penguins
o Phillip Island
o located
o fairy penguins
o little punim
o 340-hectar e penguin reserve
o oil spill
o threat
o dressing the penguins
o penguin-si zed wool sweaters
o insane people
o willie warmers
o purl
o sixth-grad ers got into the act
o Please don't send any more penguin sweaters
o Sooty
o managed to impregnate
o Also by cp

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Where the Internet Shines: Penguin Sweaters | 11 comments (11 topical, editorial, 0 hidden)
Knitters are insane. (4.76 / 13) (#1)
by Anya on Sat May 19, 2001 at 06:48:44 PM EST

I come from a knitting family myself, and it is really annoying because every couple of months or so I recieve a jumper or bobble hat or scarve which has been knitted with an 1890's dowager in mind. It would be good if the clothes I recieved were tasteful and nice, but instead they are terrible - my batty grandmother knits me purple and black jumpers for example. I am then expected to be wearing the horrendous attire on every subsequent visit.

So if knitters can be encouraged to send their clothes to members of the animal kingdom instead then that can only be a good thing for harassed grandchildren of the world everywhere. I for one will be telling my relatives of the great distress these penguins face, in the hope of gaining some respite.

Stars, stars! And all eyes else dead coals.

You think you have it bad. . . (5.00 / 7) (#3)
by Anonymous 242 on Sat May 19, 2001 at 11:22:35 PM EST

One Christmas, my sister opened a gift from one great aunt, to find a hand knitted pink shoulder-length cape.

The best part was that my ever-so-creative great aunt wanted to put in shoulder pads to give it just the right look and feel, so she sewed in a pair of maxi-pads.

[ Parent ]

Oh, one of those... (none / 0) (#8)
by Pseudonym on Mon May 21, 2001 at 02:25:33 AM EST

One of those great aunts. :-)

Mine doesn't knit, thankfully. For Christmas one year, I got $1000, which was pretty nice. Next year, I got a packet pudding.

Whatever you do, don't go around to their place for dinner. You will most likely get one fish finger plus vegetables pressure cooked until they turn into an unrecognisable blob. Every night for a week.

Does this great aunt complain about every provider of service that she comes into contact with, too?

sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
[ Parent ]
Weird relatives (5.00 / 4) (#4)
by Tatarigami on Sat May 19, 2001 at 11:48:10 PM EST

I feel your pain.


Every year as a combined Christmas/birthday present, my dear old granny used to give me a green wooly sweater with a neck so narrow nothing human could have worn it...

[ Parent ]
ooooooookay... uh.. penguins? (3.21 / 14) (#2)
by Seumas on Sat May 19, 2001 at 10:18:44 PM EST

Well, it's great that while people in this country are freezing to death on the streets, kind-hearted people with plenty of time on their hands (including children using, apparently, school time) can find it in their hearts to knit warm sweaters . . . for penguins.

Of course, this is better than what I expected by the title of this article. I thought someone was out there making penguin-skin sweaters which, actually, would be pretty damn cool -- if not a little mean.

Penguin-skin laptop bags, desktop computer cases . . .
I just read K5 for the articles.

oh, come on (5.00 / 2) (#5)
by cp on Sun May 20, 2001 at 02:46:14 AM EST

There are plenty of volunteer knit-for-the-homeless groups. If you don't like the homeless, then you can also knit for battered women, premature infants, impoverished children, or any number of other causes--here's a state-by-state listing if someone wants to find a local group.

Knitters routinely do charity work like this (clothing drives, etc.). (You eventually run out of family members and people you know who want stuff.) And the children thing is about getting kids to start knitting. Which do you suppose is the more effective incentive for getting a kid to knit: an adorable penguin or an anonymous human? And which do you think would make a better starter project: a simple doll-sized ribbed sweater or one suitable for a grown human?

I'd wager you've done charitable knitting for neither penguins nor humans.

[ Parent ]

about Australian penguins (2.00 / 1) (#6)
by danny on Sun May 20, 2001 at 07:10:12 AM EST

There's a nice book Little Penguin for those who want to know more about them.
The animal that bit Linus Torvalds when he visited Canberra zoo, resulting in Tux being chosen as the Linux mascot, was almost certainly a little or fairy penguin, species _Eudyptula minor_.

[900 book reviews and other stuff]

Sooty (4.00 / 1) (#7)
by eln on Sun May 20, 2001 at 11:05:13 AM EST

After looking at the home page for Sooty the guinea pig, I think it is vitally important we all donate to the farm so they can hire a decent web designer.

Please, give until it hurts.

It already hurts (none / 0) (#9)
by Pseudonym on Mon May 21, 2001 at 02:26:30 AM EST

Enough said.

sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
[ Parent ]
Rather timely article (3.00 / 1) (#10)
by Molotov on Mon May 21, 2001 at 06:39:51 PM EST

This is actually quite amusing: here is this article explaining that no more jumpers are needed, but my local library has just recently started a project encouraging people to knit!

This is mostly for the social / community aspect, but I believe that some of the jumpers will be sent to the penguins.

Sweaters for Penguins? (none / 0) (#11)
by Detestae180 on Sat Jun 09, 2001 at 10:16:36 PM EST

Ok, I have to admit i did get a good laugh out of this one. The thought of a "real" Penguin wearing a sweater is just too cute. I love the picture too. But, what makes this so bad for me is that i have actually heard of this before and was not shocked by it one bit...

[ Parent ]
Where the Internet Shines: Penguin Sweaters | 11 comments (11 topical, 0 editorial, 0 hidden)
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