‘Even the littlest thing can make a difference’: Saskatoon man, 91, makes socks for the homeless
Bob Rutherford spends his days making wool socks and toques, using antique knitting machines that he built.
“If you’re a mechanic, your fingers just got to be working,” the 91-year-old said.
Three of the knitting machines are used to make socks; the fourth makes toques. He built the fourth machine in November with help from friends and family.
“There’s approximately 100 needles in there and it turns at 72 turns per minute. So it makes toques at a good rate,” he said.
He started Socks by Bob in 2010 after his wife, Edith, died. In nine years, he and his three friends have made more than 15,000 wool items, he said.
“We then give them to charities and the charities, hopefully, give them out to the needy,” Rutherford said.
The socks have been donated to charities all across the country – from Victoria, B.C. to a small town in northern Ontario.
“We’ve been in sort of demand. We’ve given 460 items downtown just in February,” he said.
The high demand means buying more wool, something Rutherford’s son pays for out of pocket.
A GoFundMe Page has been set up to help Rutherford keep up with the demand. The goal is to raise $25,000 – enough money for a year’s supply of yarn.
“Most people at the age of 91 start slowing down, not Bob. He’s ramping up now that he has four machines going,” said Terra Dionne, Rutherford’s friend.
As long as wool keeps coming in, Rutherford said he will continue to make socks and toques.
“Even the littlest thing can make a difference,” he said.