A Blanket for My Son

by Verónica

My husband and I have two teenage boys – one his, one mine. Our boys are the same age and share similar experiences – riding on our shoulders as toddlers, daycare, doctor visits, cub scouts, basketball, middle school, deepening voices, freshman year, etc. While they share some interests, they are very different. One is gregarious, the other introspective; one talkative, the other thoughtful.

One day during a visit, my son asked if I would knit him a blanket. My heart melted. Of course I would. Consulting with my husband, I searched for the perfect pattern. It had to have simple lines and muted colors. After pouring through pattern books and the web, we selected the Hudson’s Bay Point Blanket. It had a rich history, a rustic feel and the palette of primary colors was just right. We could envision this blanket becoming an heirloom piece seeing our son through college, wrapped in front of a fireplace, and one day tucked around tiny feet.

Hudson Bay - Folded 1

The History

Point blankets were used for trading with native tribes in Canada and the United States, mostly during the 18th and 19th centuries. The value of the blankets was measured by how many beaver pelts one could exchange for them. The color palette is the result of using dyes that were easily accessible. The colors also had significance to the native american tribes: green meant “new life,” red stood for “battle or hunt,” yellow referred to “harvest,” and blue stood for “water.”

A few years ago, the Hudson’s Bay Company commissioned a group of Canadian designers to create coats using the well-known motif. You can view their unique designs here.

dec09HBCcoats7_lg

[Source]

There are a number of sites on the web about the Hudson’s Bay Company Point Blankets. The Point Blanket Site offers a comprehensive overview and has an excellent bibliography. The Hudson’s Bay Company website also provides a history of the blankets.

The Yarn

Hudson Bay - Yarn

I chose 100% Superwash Wool for warmth and ease of cleaning. I found the elemental colors in Cascade Yarns. They did not have enough white so I found a comparable yarn from Ella Rae. I will note that the Ella Rae had an unusual number of knots. Often, I had to unravel a row to cut off the faulty piece and tie on a new string.

  • Ella Rae Classic Superwash – 14 balls white (100 grams, 219 yards)
  • Cascade Yarns 220 Superwash – 2 balls each in navy, yellow, red and green (100 grams, 220 yards)

To accommodate a growing teen, I wanted the blanket to fit a double bed. Based on the yarn’s gauge and using a US 7 circular needle, I cast on 238 stitches.

Hudson Bay - In Progress 1

The Blanket in Progress

Hudson Bay - In Progress 2

Hudson Bay - In Progress 3

Hudson Bay - In Progress 4

The Finished Blanket

Hudson Bay - Full

It took a year to knit this blanket. The repetitive garter stitch produces a lovely texture but can be monotonous. Then there were the months abroad when the blanket lay dormant. Upon returning, I was determined to finish it by the holidays. The dimensions turned out at 72″ x 68″ and fit nicely over a full size bed. Based on the standard sizes marketed by the Hudson’s Bay Company, it merited 3½ indigo markings to denote size and approximate weight.

Hudson Bay - Points

Points Graphic

[Source]

Hudson Bay - Folded 2

Hudson Bay - Colors

The Stats

538 rows
128,044 stitches
4,826 yards of yarn (~ 2.7 miles)
lots of love

The Leftovers

I wonder if we will see bird’s nests dressed up like mini point blankets this Spring?

Hudson Bay - Loose Ends

Hudson Bay - Leftovers

To my son with love.