Tags: australia | penguin | sweaters

Australia Penguin Sweaters Nice Fit for 109-Year-Old Knitter

By    |   Friday, 13 February 2015 09:14 AM

Australia's oldest man loves to knit sweaters for penguins.

Last year, 109-year-old Alfred "Alfie" Date began knitting "jumpers" for the country's small but scrappy population of Little Penguins, Australia's Channel Nine News reported in a heartwarming profile.

About 32,000 of the penguins live on Phillip Island, and were put in harm's way after the area experienced a nearby oil spill. To keep the penguins from picking at their oil-slicked feathers and ingesting the toxic sludge, the Phillip Island Penguin Foundation asked volunteers to knit sweaters for the waddling birds.

Luckily, there hasn't been an oil spill since, however last year the foundation put out a call for sweaters once again in order to create a stockpile for any future spills.

That's when the nurses at Date's retirement home in New South Wales approached him with the request for sweaters.

"I think I'd been in here about 12 hours, might have been 13," Date recalled. "The two girls (nurses) come in to me and say 'We believe you can knit.'"

He said that the incident reminded him of a similar event that occurred roughly 80 years ago. In 1931, his sister-in-law had just had a baby.

"She said knit me a jumper. And that was my first effort — a jumper for the boy," he explained. That boy, he noted, was now "old enough to be your grandfather."

When his nurses approached him asking to help the penguins, he set about his work right away. He said he uses heavy wool — "if you're using a light wool you're wasting your time" — to create "easy single-rib and double-rib" stitch jerseys.

The penguin foundation received an overwhelming response to their call for sweaters, and said in a recent release that "We do not need any further jumpers."

When asked by reporters if they knew of Date's contributions, foundation staffers responded in the affirmative.

"We knew he was over 100 years old, but had no idea he was declared the oldest person in Australia," said Danene Jones.

"It's amazing and we feel quite privileged to have him dedicating his time and effort to the Penguin Foundation."


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Australia's oldest man loves to knit sweaters for penguins.
australia, penguin, sweaters
Friday, 13 February 2015 09:14 AM
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