Wednesday, November 13, 2013

peggy squares

The Filamenti daily feed digs up some interesting tidbits every so often. Case in point was the recent article about peggy squares.

Peggy Squares

Motivated by recent news reports about poor women in New Zealand wrapping their babies in tea towels to keep them warm, a call to needles was heard throughout the land. Groups were formed to start producing woolen blankets. It is New Zealand, after all, where sheep significantly outnumber people, though not to the extent previously known; perhaps this decline is one of the reason for babies to be wrapped in cotton tea towels and not fluffy woolen blankets.

Because I am a resident of the wrong hemisphere, I had never heard of "peggy squares." Of course granny squares came to mind, but that isn't even close. A bit of research revealed that peggy squares are knit (not crocheted like their grandmotherly relatives) in garter stitch, i.e. knit every row, to a standard size of six inches, or 15 centimeters, square. These squares are then sewn together into larger blankets.

The name was the product of the Depression years, when a radio reporter noticed a little girl—named, you guessed it, Peggy—making blankets for her dolls out of small knit squares that she would sew together. As if there was any doubt of how much things have changed in the intervening years, little Peggy was four at the time. The radio host was inspired by Peggy's cleverness in using scraps of yarn, and started a campaign for children in the country to knit larger square to be assembled into blankets for the needy. The concept took off to such an extent that a line of yarn was named after young Peggy Huse.

The idea eventually died down, but the reports of babies being wrapped in tea towels sparked a revival. Peggy squares are once again being produced in the thousands, and blankets in the hundreds. It's nice to think that something so small can be transformed into something so large.


  1. Thanks Kris! I hadn't heard of Peggy Squares. Great article. Will be on the lookout to do this locally.

  2. When I was growing up we all knit squares to send to the American Friends Service Committee, who put the squares together into blankets for the needy. That's definitely a blast from the past! I knitted those squares for years!