A friend and I were talking about all the worthy causes there are out there for us obsessive compulsive knitters.
"You're not going to believe this," she said, "but some organization is looking for volunteers to knit sweaters for penguins."
"Why?" I asked. "With global warming and the ice caps melting why in the world would penguins need sweaters?"
I did a Google search on it and at least a dozen sites popped up. It turned out to have nothing to do with keeping the little creatures warm. It was about an oil spill in New Zealand. The poor little birds were covered in oil and when they tried to preen themselves they ingested the toxic stuff. The sweaters keep them warm until they're well enough to be cleaned, and prevent them from nibbling at their feathers
I'm sympathetic to the cause, but dang, yarn is expensive. Couldn't they cut up used sweaters from a place like the Lilburn Co-op where sweaters are all a dollar? Or what about St. Vincent de Paul's end of the season sale when you get all the sweaters you can cram into a shopping bag for $5?
Last time I went there, my bag was half full and the lady at the counter said she felt guilty charging me for them and insisted I go back and fill it up. OK, so I gathered up the most outlandish ones I could find and gave them to Sharon Morrow, the drama teacher at Parkview.
I'm sure she found some use for them, but I could have restyled them for the penguins. What do they know about fashion?
Anyway, about that penguin project. When the call went out for sweaters, within a week they were flooded with them. Their request for 100 sweaters brought in several thousand from all around the world. So in case this story tugs at your heartstrings and you're dying to knit a sweater for a penguin, the organizers are begging people to please not send anymore. At least not for the next 20 oil spills.
But, there are lots of other good causes out there. A few weeks ago the Daily Post featured Crafts for a Cause at Cross Pointe Church in Duluth, which knits, sews and crochets clothes and blankets for people all over the world. St. Marguerite d'Youville Catholic Church in Lawrenceville collects handmade hats, scarves and mittens for charity. And Tiny Stitches volunteers can't keep up with the need for layettes for indigent babies all over North Georgia, including Gwinnett County. Another worthy cause is chemo caps for kids which, sad to say, is always a need.
Of course, if what you really want to do more than anything in the world is knit for penguins, there is hope. Some scientists are predicting an ice age in the near future. Before you know it we may need to be knitting sweaters for all God's creatures.
Susan Larson is a writer who lives in Lilburn. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.