Knitting is for the birds and other creatures

This week on the VeryPink Knits podcast, we're replaying a "classic episode" as we take a short summer break, Do Chickens Need Sweaters? I spoke with a friend and bird expert on the need for (or lack of) for chicken sweaters. 

I made this woodpecker for Peter, our guest on the podcast.

I made this woodpecker for Peter, our guest on the podcast.

We knitters love to help creatures who need warmth. The idea for my interview with Peter came to me when I read about penguins who suffered from an oil spill in Australia. To keep them from picking at their oil-covered feathers while waiting to be washed, wildlife rescuers put tiny sweaters on them. This spill happened in the 1990s, yet, (thank you Internet) news of it spread all over the planet in 2014 when an older volunteer was profiled in the newspaper. Now, the foundation can't keep up with the sweaters being sent in by well-meaning knitters. How many times did your friends share that story with you on Facebook?

Please, do not knit more penguin sweaters.

This article from Atlas Obscura shares more about that story and other cases for knitting for animals. 

Today, I found another program that asked for knit and crocheted bird nests for orphaned baby birds. Guess what? They have way too many. Please, do not send anymore knit or crocheted bird nests.

Whenever you're knitting for a charity, it's best to always check to make sure there is still a need. The last thing we want to do is to create piles of bird sweaters and other items that no one needs. It becomes a waste of yarn and a stress on a non-profit organization.

And, if you're really into birds, why not knit a bird and give it to a bird-loving friend? Knitting stuffed animals is a great way to learn some shaping techniques. My son went through a phase when he loved birds after watching the movie Rio and playing Angry Birds. He has a fine collection of knit birds thanks to my mom and me. To thank Peter for the interview, I knit a woodpecker for him. He was so excited and says it has a special place in his office. 

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On Finishing

I have too many projects in progress at the moment. All with their own excuses of why I haven't finished. Oh, I'll get to them eventually. Have I mentioned I love to start projects?  

I wanted to start on Staci's new felted Christmas stockings pattern, but this stocking was starting to collect dust. I looked back at my Ravelry page and realized I started it 3 years ago! What was happening 3 years ago? Let's see... I had a 5-year-old and an 8 year-old. It probably got close to Christmas and things got busy. Then I had hand surgery of all things to hold a knitter back. Then it was summer. Then I forgot where I was. Then... who knows? So I finally pulled it out and figure out where I left off in the pattern. In the end it only took me a couple hours to finish it!

Motivated, I turned to the Scarf-in-a-scarf. Why was it taking me a year to knit a simple garter stitch scarf? I decided to switch needles and, viola, I was done in a few days. Cheers to Addi Turbos! I decided to make it a Christmas gift which makes me even more excited to have one off the list. 

So, I allowed myself to start on those felted stockings and look at finishing another project that I'd put aside this summer.

Lesson learned? Maybe. I will certainly stop to think about why something is hibernating and consider changing a needle or even just giving up. But, I'm looking at my yarn stash and thinking of casting on for a a new sweater...