In 1931, Alfred Date began knitting a sweater for a little boy. Eighty-four years later, Australia's oldest man is still knitting, but now he's making little sweaters for little penguins.
When the Penguin Foundation of Philip's Island requested sweaters for hundreds of birds harmed in a massive oil spill in March of 2014, Date quickly got to work. The elderly man, who is now 109 years old, is a self-taught knitter who told Australia's Nine News he started when his sister in-law gave him knitting needles and said, "knit me a jumper." The sweater ended up being for her son, his nephew, who Date told reporters was now old enough to be their grandfather.
For the penguins, he wasn't messing around. As Date said to the reporters, he knit single and double-ribbed sweaters with heavy wool because, as he puts it "if you're using a light wool, you're wasting your time."
Though the sweaters are absolutely adorable, they aren't just for fashion. According to the Penguin Foundation, the sweaters are placed on oil-covered birds before they're washed as a means to absorb oil and prevent oil ingestion.
Today, the website for the foundation thanks knitters for their generous donations, but says they are no longer in need of little sweaters. But that hasn't stopped Date from having his knitting needles handy. According to Mashable, Date currently keep his fingers busy by knitting scarves and hats for friends and family.
Date is currently on record as being the oldest man in Australia but not the oldest person in the country. According to the Daily Telegraph, that record is held by Vi Robbins, who is 112.
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