Now is the time for all good knitters to come to the aid of some penguins. The New Zealand oil spill has left the little guys in need of some warmth and protection, and a Kiwi yarn store has posted patterns for how to knit "penguin jumpers" and instructions on where to send them. 

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This is not the first time there's been a call out for penguin sweaters, and the response in the past has been disproportionate. It's a genuine request — the woolens keep oil-soaked birds warm until they're well enough to be cleaned, and prevent them from nibbling oil off their feathers. But the concept is so gosh-darn charming that crafters go a little nuts trying to help out. In 2001, the Tasmanian Conservation Trust decided to bank some penguin jumpers in the event of future oil spills, but after the request went viral they blew past their goal of 100 stockpiled sweaters, and currently have 10 times that amount. 

Still, there really is a need for penguin sweaters, especially in light of this new oil spill. And they don't really have a shelf life, so even if your creation languishes for a while, it will go to some needy bird eventually. 

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UPDATE: Skeinz, the yarn shop that posted the patterns, said they have achieved critical mass of jumpers. We're both happy and sad about this. But they do say that they'll stockpile sweaters if you've got one ready to go — or you can stockpile them yourself, in case oily penguins show up in your hometown.