The recent New Zealand oil spill left many penguins in need of warmth and protection. Sweaters were used to prevent the birds from preening their feathers and ingesting the toxic oil. So far, enough sweaters have been knit to cover the little guys, so you can put your knitting needles away for now.


How did this kitten get in here!?!

Still want to learn how to knit a penguin jumper? Here’s how.



  1. o m g

  2. Flutter-by says:

    Awesome pengie sweateaus; so colorful, fashionable, warm and practical to boot !! Love the one that advised us to use less oil !!!

  3. Those are sooo cute, and I’d like to say that I’M A JERK, because I came here to post “why do penguins need sweaters?” then realized that the answer is right there, had I bothered to read it. 🙂


  4. Flutter-by says:

    Tinee marmie in Packers colors…

    just sayin’

  5. Those look .like Little Penguins! Cutest penguinis evar!

  6. Of course there’s a tuxedo one. What else would the fashionable penguin wear?

  7. 260Oakley says:

    So glad they got all the sweaters they needed. Must have been all those jumper cables they sent out.

  8. emmberrann says:

    Mm,yah, must’ve sparked a whole lot of knittin’ for the pengies.

  9. or Springboks’ colours.
    Like the mini-tux, but there should really be an All-Blacks one.
    Go New Zealand!

  10. LunaChickFringe says:

    YAY! All-Blacks! I wish the US would have professional rugby! Oh and I am DED, DED, DED from pengys in sweaters!

  11. kibblenibble says:

    Cute…or sad?

  12. Queen of Dork says:

    Meg, that was a great story about how the penguins are being cared for and people are knitting sweaters for them! They look so happy to be warm in their sweaters. And then the kitty you threw in at the end was funny! 🙂

  13. Do pengies come in in Marmie now, or is that a kitteh? 😛

  14. United Colors of Penguinton.

  15. SNERK!!

  16. um, in regards to the hovertext, the OIL makes it difficult for them to fly!? I know the little blue penguins are totes adorable, and are a big part of the reason I want to visit NZ, but I’m pretty sure they’re as flightless as all the other penguins.

    Also, love the sweaters. I may* have to try and put sweaters on my local birds.

    *I will not try to put sweaters on the local birds. Even if the majority of the local birds are pigeons.

  17. You can see them in Australia, too. I did. It was so cute I barely survived it.

  18. The hovertext previous (pink and purple sweater) to the one you refer to (guy in green with penguin in peach) mentions “fairy terns” and “godwits” which are birds. I think the way the paragraph was cut into hovertext causes the confusion. (Before I get pelted with spoiled produce–or oil?–I am NOT criticizing Meg AT ALL!!!) 🙂

  19. Oopsie! Yes, they’re adorable; no, they can’t fly. I’m thinking someone at CO was so overcome by the Cute Fumes they made a little mistake.

  20. I knitted a dozen of these and sent them off to New Zealand last week–they were so easy to make and it was such a great project for a good cause! Cuteness IS, in fact, healing. Just ask these fashionable penguins!

  21. Queen of Dork says:

    I don’t know why, but the penguins and kitty in sweaters reminds me of National Lampoon European Vacation. I couldn’t find that particular opening theme but I found this one:

  22. Pengies wearing sweaters!

    Ahhhhh, it’s the seventh sign of the Cutepocolypse.

  23. Here’s a video about the penguin rescue from The Weather Channel.

  24. Meg often uses informative web content in her hovertexts. I didn’t have any problem understanding it.

  25. PS: Sweateuws. 😛

  26. Hey, if only I looked that good in stripes….

  27. One of the best Christmas specials ever:
    ‘A Wish for Wings that Work’, starting Opus the Penguin:

  28. Hooray for the good people of New Zealand! And to the little marmie kitty–Go Packers! Or Go Ducks!

  29. “You can put your knitting needles away for now”…

    Bah! That’s easy for you to say! I’m going to finish this versatile diamond check pullover ANYWAY, just in case one of teh penguinzors gets regurgitated fish on his and has to change in a hurry.

    (And also take the bus to work tomorrow. Less oil use = more penguins.)

  30. I hope all the knitters keep in mind that ugly sweaters will cause social problems for those penguins attired in them. Please keep the sweaters attractive.

  31. I remember this from a few years ago. I also remember that this is a prime example of why we need a KNITTED tag.

  32. victoreia says:


  33. Pengies in sweaters? All we’re missing now are the Bananas in Pyjamas and Cats in Hats. These things come in threes, you know.

  34. There is nothing cute about penguins covered in oil.

  35. I’d love to knit a sweater for one of these little guys but I’m not that great at knitting. I’ll figure out the pattern somehow…

  36. My personal fave was Baby Bats with Binkies.

  37. Fird Birfle says:

    YAY Nikki!!!

  38. Fird Birfle says:

    thank you Theresa, I was attempting to restrain my urge to add that reminder.

  39. haw! somewhere there’s a joke in there about penguins wearing sweaters with penguins on them.

  40. WOT?!

    even if it’s silly oil?

  41. Many years ago, we wended our way far, far south in New Zealand to see the Little Blue Penguins. We stood around in the cold near sunset, waiting for the little fellas to appear. We were very sad that we only had one day for penguin wAiting, and they appeared not to be in the mood. Some other tourists sat down on the bus stop bench and we chatted a bit. And then, as it got dark and shadowy, we SAW them!! Standing UNDER the bench!! They hadn’t been there when we arrived, we didn’t see them emerge from the sea, but they were definitely standing around very close to human shoes.

    Sneaky, they are. Hope they and the water are soon de-oiled. Sweaters on penguins are adorable, but LBPs are really cute birds on their own, they don’t need cute-hance.

  42. I was watching this on the news last night, and wondered “who is knitting these mini sweaters?…And how exactly are they sizing them??”

  43. or with people on them?

  44. it’s definitely current. it was on the news in Toronto earlier tonight. adorbs.

  45. OMG SO CUTE!!! I’m glad they have enough penguin jumpers (*teehee*) otherwise I wish I could knit to contribute! Poor little guys….

  46. Some days all you need to see is penguins in knitwear

  47. bookmonstercats says:

    Just for future reference, can I ask about 8 ply wool? Is that twice as fine as UK 4 ply? 8 ply sounds fine enough to knit a spider’s web.

    Ta muchly.

  48. They’ve done this before, the last time there was an oil spill. There were some sweaters left over but they needed more this time. Though from what I’ve heard they have enough now, but any extra’s that come in they will save in case of another emergency.

  49. Desdemona says:

    8 ply wool, in the U.S. anyway, is, I believe, what we call “worsted weight.” That is a standard weight that is often used to make sweaters. 4 ply, on the other hand, is more like baby yarn, used to make baby blankies. It is called “DK” weight yarn. So, Bookmonstercats, you have it backwards — 8 ply means 8 little threads twisted together to make the yarn, while 4 ply means only 4. If this is different than in the UK, I’d love to hear about it.

  50. The instructions quoted are for 3.25 and 3.75mm needles. Those are “European” needle sizes, the corresponding US sizes are 3 & 5 and UK/Canadian sizes are 10 & 9 respectively. Based upon those needle sizes, I’d hazard a guess that the pattern calls for either sport or DK weight yarn. If you knit very tightly, maybe even an Aran or worsted weight but I think that weight would be challenging on such small needles.

    Hope that helps!!

  51. Aren’t they called jumpers in New Zealand?

  52. Bonnie Luria says:

    This story even made stone faced newsmen smile. One said it was his favorite story. Unfortunately, the need for the sweaters is dire. But the call to arms was beyond cute.

  53. e z reader says:

    Pleeze could someone find and post a link to the cutest call to action ever, a song called “Sweaters for penguins” composed by James Gordon for a CBC radio show called ‘Basic Black’ – in the late eighties, maybe, or the nineties, when people were knitting after the earlier oil spill that threatened penguins. I cannot find it. BTW James Gordon was a candidate in the recent Ontario provincial election – you gotta love a country where politicians can have indulged in fun song writing…

  54. sunnylessmum says:

    Thank you for helping the penguins Nikki; really, really appreciate your compassion. 🙂 What colors and / or patterns did you use?

  55. Well, now I’ve seen everything.

  56. Monique in TX says:

    Did anyone catch that one of the penguins is a plush toy? (It’s the one in the pink and purple-sweater.)

  57. Klunk, I’ve been cuted ded.

  58. I knew by the time I started my wee penguin jumper that it was probably too late, and they had plenty, but gosh darn it, I’m gonna send it anyway! They really are super easy and fun to make!

  59. Good on you! And thanks, from a kiwi anxious about my tiny feathered countrymen and women.

  60. Yes indeed! that is my photo and pink sweater modelled on a soft toy pengy I have at work before I sent it and a couple of other sweaters off to the collection point. I guess it’s slowing making its way around the global interwebs… And its name isn’t Jeremy, that’s my neighbour edumacator colleague’s desk… Yippee I made it to Cuteoverload, yay-a-yay–a-yay!!!

  61. We say Jerseys, our neighbours over the large ditch (Australia) say Jumpers.

    In this case, they are named Penguin PJs!

  62. bookmonstercats says:

    Aha, thank you Desdemona. You have it exactly right. We also call it double knitting (“DK”).

  63. bookmonstercats says:

    Thank you, maggie. I knit very loosely, as it happens, so if I knitted in Aran, my sweateaw would fit a seal 🙂

  64. I thot they were covered in sweaters. Looks like sweaters to me. Colorfuhls sweateuws!

  65. starlinguk says:

    Some of the birds that are being rescued can fly. When not covered in oil, that is.

  66. starlinguk says:

    How about crocheting? I can knit very neatly but I make so many mistakes that I keep having to rip stuff out. So I’ve started crocheting instead. Much easier to rip!

  67. starlinguk says:

    But if you knit tightly, using Aran or worsted would make the fabric awfully stiff.

  68. Yes, some of them make their nests under the houses of people living over the road from the beach; they can be quite used to humans. Only problem is, to get to their burrows under these houses or in the nearby bush, they have to cross a road, and far too many of them get run over by cars. There are big signs in areas known to be frequented by little blue penguins, saying ‘Kia tupato!’, which basically means ‘watch out for little penguins!’ I think we need to create tunnels that go under the roads, or overbridges for the traffic, so the wee fellas can toddle across to their burrows without having to dodge cars, but so far that hasn’t been done.

  69. How are they going to get the sweaters off the penguins if they go out to sea?

  70. I love this!