Penguins, Sweaters & Crochet Oh My…

Michael Sellick

Michael Sellick, Creative Director and Video Host for The Crochet Crowd

I’ve received a tremendous influx of emails as well as several postings on Facebook to have The Crochet Crowd join in the cause for crocheting penguins sweaters.

With joining any campaign, as just jumping on the band wagon just because everyone else is doing it… isn’t a responsible thing for me to do. I have to research and really see what the demands are. First of all, I was like yeah let’s jump on board and help… but I kept running into conflicting reports that is making me second guess what is happening.

In recent reports I had read. A campaign for this was done in 2011 where they were swamped with sweaters for the penguins. It is fabulous that humane kindness is being expressed here. The organization has admitted they get roughly 20 birds a year to rescue. While I see the purpose for the penguin sweaters. The quantity required to fulfill this need can be done easily by a mini group of knitters who can organize and work together.

So while it appears that I don’t care, the opposite is true. I think crocheting for the homeless, out of the cold programs and etc shouldn’t be ignored as there are 10’s, if not 100’s of thousands of people needing a helping hand.

While I have a soft place for animals and I cannot stomach animal cruelty and these types of events are extremely heartbreaking. Let’s not lose focus that there are people within our own communities who we can immediately reach out to help with our finished crochet items.

By all means, for those who wish to support the Penguin Cause, please do what is in your heart. There are several reports all over the internet stating there is a such a huge influx of sweaters that chances of the items actually being used are unlikely. One report I read, the birds may become extremely stressed to wear a foreign object.

While this is a heavy social media item flying all over Facebook and is wrenching at our hearts, let’s be careful that we continue to be objective and what we are reading, seeing and responding to is accurate.

What are your thoughts? Did I fall off my rocker? Do you have links that I haven’t seen yet?



About Mikey, The Crochet Crowd

I am Mikey, owner of The Crochet Crowd Blog. I'm a 'hooker' at heart with the passion to crochet. I am from Ontario Canada and teach how to crochet online through YouTube Video Tutorials. From a simple idea and being at the right place and time in my life back in 2008, the concept of The Crochet Crowd was developed. I'm here to hook and share. Come follow my crochet journey and share yours with comments here and you are most welcome to share your creativity within our Facebook page.
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81 Responses to Penguins, Sweaters & Crochet Oh My…

  1. I went to the Penguin Foundation’s facebook page, where they had originally posted the request for the penguin sweaters. Within a couple of days they had edited their request to say that they already had enough and were no longer in urgent need.

  2. Reblogged this on Knit It Up and commented:
    I agree with him. Logical and rational.

  3. Joanne Green says:

    Frankly I believe this is a hoax. Sweaters for penguins? Really? Are they being kept indoors? Are not these birds ” equatic”? What happens when a bird goes into the water with these sweaters on? Are they water proof?Can the material get caught up on the ice? Will they stretch in the water, will it freeze onto the bird when out of the water? If they are being confined in a shelter, can you not just turn up the heat? What a great way to get free wool, hey I got a bunch of chickadees that need blankets in various sizes……..Joke

  4. Susie says:

    Very well said. I crochet toques for children living in poverty in my city. I had a friend who approached me with this and I was considering doing a few and even emailed the company to see if they had a pattern for crochet. Maybe this is why they haven’t answered me after a week. I’ll just continue my kiddo toques.

    Again, very well put Mikey and I have to say I absolutely adore this group and everyone in it!

  5. Sheree Ervin says:

    I saw this post at one point and saw the fact that they get 20 birds a year too. I agree with your assessment on this.

  6. farmfamof5 says:

    PERFECT RESPONSE! I am a veterinarian and I was just cringing at the craziness of this. It’s amazing how things can get so out of hand. I love that you said to stay focused on our neighbors (people) who we can serve by sharing our finished products with them. Love love love that! Thanks for your boldness and for checking facts before jumping on the bandwagon.

  7. Corrie says:

    Oh Mikey UR awesome! I actually emailed the people in charge of this program who never emailed me back and that was all I needed to figure out what u just said on UR blog. Unlike many other yarn hoarders I am quite broke and can’t buy yarn very often and usually not enough yarn to make a Blanket for needy but I have been making hats for babies and family back in New England, when I can buy yarn so I certainly wouldn’t want to waste my investment. Love u keep up the great work!!!!!

  8. Laura H. says:

    Mikey, I think you are spot on. I was fortunate to attend the first Crochet Cruise. We worked on blankets for Project Linus – south Florida chapter. I came home and did some research, and now I am trying to start a Project Linus chapter in my area. There is so much need in my area – especially with the cold winter we just had. Our local hospital just opened a pediatric center a few years ago, and I’m sure that blankets would be needed there, as well. Thank you for all that you do – you have a heart of gold!!!

  9. roxan nickell says:

    im sorry to bother you guys I posted that article coz it was being sent to me by a friend of mine coz she knows iam learning crochet. when I read the article my heart just melts so sad for the penguins but I don’t know how to knit so I thought crochet crowd can help me. coz if I learn how to knit I wont be asking for you guys. but I thought it was nice to help. im sorry again

    • Don’t be sorry… This is coming in from tons of people and I wanted to ensure that people knew I had considered it and did some checking. 🙂 I appreciate your feedback and etc. It’s part of being part of The Crochet Crowd.

  10. Thank you for your thoughtful comments. I had some people ask if I would make some penguin sweaters; but I noticed the pattern offered was for knitting and I only know how to crochet. I don’t want to sound cold-hearted; but my focus right now is to help people, especially children. I am crocheting blankets for babies and children. I am calling my project Josh’s Hugs in honor of my son, Josh who passed away at age 32. He loved children and he gave great hugs. Between the hospital, foster care system and homeless shelters in my county, I hope I can make a difference.

  11. ceekayellemm says:

    You are definitely *not* “off your rocker.” And besides, if one reads the entire article concerning the ‘sweaters for penguins’ one will find that the Penguins got PLENTY the first go ’round, and what’s being asked for is actually sweaters for *stuffed* Penguin animals to sell for the Australian charity mention in the article.

    *People* are truly what matter most, and far, far too many of them; vets, homeless persons, shelter and nursing facility residents have NO one to care for them. Do for them!

  12. Karry S says:

    If the penguins have enough there’s always THIS. This wonderful organization knits/crochets adorable dog hoods which are then auctioned off with all proceeds going to dog rescue!

  13. Terri Brooks Tribble says:

    I knitted 2 sweaters and sent to the penguin thing. But I did it because I’m learning to knit and it was a good way for me to practice while doing something somewhat worthwhile. I didn’t go overboard because I knew if it were true there would be millions sent already. On the other hand, I crochet and (sometimes knit) for the homeless almost daily. I have a big heart for them and keep crocheted items in my car in small bags, along with crackers, a bottle of water, etc and anytime I encounter the homeless I try to hand them out. So I didn’t leave them out. :))

  14. cindy drinkwater says:

    I agree with you. Research and read folks . Thank you

  15. Susan Smith says:

    I agree with you 100 percent. I like the idea of trying to help protect penguins but it’s hard to believe that sweaters would be beneficial. The idea you had before about making scarves and leaving them in an area where homeless people live, and then put a note saying it’s for whoever needs it is great. I’m planning on making some for my area. I’m looking forward to seeing what else you come up with. I’m pretty new to the crowd and I just wanted to tell you that I’m very thankful for you all.

  16. I also did a little research and came to the same conclusion! My charity stitching will remain hats for the homeless!

  17. I completely agree with you. I love in Georgia in the US and we have had bouts of arctic air causing school closings. I always wondered why schools would close for very cold weather (no snow or ice) and discovered they close because some students do not own proper winter attire. My mom crocheted and always made sure we had hats and scarves. I know they do coat drives for underprivileged children, but no mention of hats and scarves. Something simple to make and not a lot of yarn for a child-sized item could make a big difference in a child’s life.

  18. Steel Valkyrie says:

    as a friend of mine on Facebook put it, if there was a preemie hat or a chemo hat made (for people), for every penguin sweater made, the world would be a better place.

  19. Courtney says:

    I agree. The homeless people around each corner may need our time more wisely or the person fighting for their life needs a hat or a prayer napkin.

  20. If the need for the sweaters for stuffed penguins is being met, then the energies of contributors is certainly needed elsewhere.

    Giving Emelda Marcos a pair of tennis shoes is a fruitless endeavor. Sure, it’s a nice thing to do, but she won’t likely wear them ever, and they will sit or be discarded as not needed. In the meantime, that same pair of tennis shoes would mean the world to someone who doesn’t have any. That’s what Mikey is saying here.

    It is not that the efforts wouldn’t be appreciated, but that they would be more appreciated by the person who needs a blanket or sweater whose service assistance organizations in his/her area don’t already have 100’s of thousands of them stacked in a closet somewhere.

    When Hurricane Rita and Katrina came through the Gulf Coast area, the one thing that people wanted most? Washcloths to wash their faces and necks…to feel cleaner and healthier than having to deal with the sweat and sand and dirt on their skins because trying to wash in a make-shift shower with nothing more than your hands is awkward and clumsy at best. The second was clean, dry clothes. THEN the soap and shampoo got on the list. Blankets were not even on that list.

    Stuffed toys for Crisis Prevention and Intervention groups. Donated used toys have to be specially-cleaned before they can be distributed to disturbed elders and children who are victims of crisis.

    Newborns who don’t survive being born….a parent’s pain cannot be measured, and clothing for the little angels can’t, either. Having a lovingly-made gown to bury the wee ones in, to dignify an already difficult and sad situation, are very much appreciated. There is no retail outlet that specialty-sews clothes for premies, living or not. Parents of premies resort to doll clothes intended for playthings, Something made the right size, with the same care and concern for safety and comfort that 0-3mos clothing is made with is a rare and precious commodity, indeed.

    Dogs and cats in shelters need blankets. Most kennels are drafty and often have concrete floors. Think of the comfort a blanket would be to an animal awaiting adoption.

    Donated goods don’t have to have a direct impact either. They might be sold to raise money for food for shelter animals or reservation animals being rehabilitated.

    Elderly in nursing homes. Now, before everyone gets up in arms, nursing homes, for the grand, grand majority, are safe, clean and attentive as they can be considering they are often understaffed. But it’s not the staffs’ fault that family rarely come around to visit, or call to help make the days less lonely. A blanket or sweater or even a stuffed doll can be a great comfort to someone who spends most of their days alone in a building of others.

    I could go on and on, but you do get the point. I know you do now. Premie clothes are small and are quickly completed. Pre-premie clothes are even smaller. What a noble stash-buster, eh? Pick a cause, and stick with it instead of jumping on every ‘trending’ cause that shows up on Facebook or the news or wherever. There are hundreds to choose from in any given community. If we all did that, nothing, no one’s efforts would have to go unused.

    Thank you Mikey, for providing a place that this subject can be spring-boarded and brought into honest discussion. The entire ‘Crowd Community’s” generosity once again knows no bounds.

  21. I’m so glad you researched this cause, Mikey. I also read (like Beth) that the plea was years old, and no longer valid.

  22. Joy says:

    Not off your rocker Mikey! I think more people need to be skeptical about what they are posting, check things out first at least!

  23. Sarah says:

    Well thought out response. It is not the call of EVERY person to meet EVERY need. Find your spot and fill it and let others do the same.

  24. Jennifer says:

    I too wholeheartedly agree with Mikey’s analysis and conclusions.Well said Mikey!

  25. donnalynn2 says:

    I had no idea Penguins were in need. IMO we have enough preemies, cancer patients, etc who need help. Not that animals aren’t in need but I agree with you. Generally, wild animals don’t like foreign objects on them. Besides, this is YOUR forum. You choose who you want to support and who you don’t. Do not let someone pressure you into putting your name behind something you don’t wish to no matter what.

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