Fairy Penguins to be specific, and they need our help. The recent catastrophic New Zealand oil spill dumped 350 tons of oil into the waters off the coast of New Zealand, and into the habitat of these tiny birds. The oil on their feathers leaves the penguins cold and unprotected as the await cleaning, so knitters have been asked to knit tiny sweaters to keep them warm and to prevent them from ingesting toxic oil in an attempt to preen themselves. This is a legit request - check it out on Snopes.
If you've got a mind to knit a little something cute and help out these critters, here's a pattern. Gotta use 100% wool yarn, so no foisting off stuff you hate, but it does only take a few yards, so you probably have plenty of left overs to donate to the cause.
Penguin Pullover dk weight.
About 60 yards dk weight wool (Rowan Pure Wool dk is perfect)
1 set of US size 3 double pointed needles, or one long (32") circular needle and 1 set of US size 5 (3.75 mm) double pointed needles, or one long (32") circular needle.
2 different colored stitch markers
With smaller needles, cast on 36 stitches place marker, cast on another 36 stitches and place a different colored marker to indicate beginning of round. Distribute stitches evenly around needles and join in the round. Work 8 rows of k1, p1 ribbing. Change to larger needles and work in k2, p2 rib for 4 rounds, increasing one stitch before and after each marker. (88 stitches)
Continue in k2 p2 rib until piece measures 6 inches.
Divide for flipper openings
You will now be working the front and back separately
Place stitches between markers on a holder, and working back and forth in k2 p2 rib on 44 , Decrease 1 st at beginning and end of every row until 28 sts remain on the needle
Decrease 1 st. in middle of next row (27 sts.)
Place those 27 stitches on holder, transfer the 44 stitches from holder to needle and repeat for the other side
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.
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.