A Blanket for My Son

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.



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


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.

88 thoughts on “A Blanket for My Son

    1. When I read about the history and what the points mean, I knew I had to include them. Very practical – you don’t have to unfold the blanket to know what size it is, just look for the points.

  1. Love the design and what a wonderful and loving gift. My thirty year old son still wraps himself in an afghan my mother made for him when he young.

  2. Absolutely beautiful! I have a large blanket my mom made during my college days that I will always treasure. I’m sure this will be the heirloom piece you imagine with many years of use!

  3. So sweet and what a treasure. You’re such a good mom 🙂 It turned out perfectly. And I really like the coat. Thanks for sharing.

  4. An awesome post! Your son’s blanket is simply beautiful, and you couldn’t have made it nicer. Love the color selection. Great work!

  5. Very nice work! Now what about your step son? Would he want one? I made my 20 year old son a patchwork quilt last January so he has something of mine to always keep and treasure.

    1. Actually, this is for my stepson. The fact that he asked me to make one for him was very touching. We have a loving and respectful relationship but I am always cautious of not crossing the line. He has a great mom already. I am very lucky that he is part of my life.

  6. Wow, everything about that blanket is great; your choice of colours, the workmanship, the story and history behind it and i bet you felt a lot if pleasure in making it and giving it. So lovely.

    1. Besides the simplicity of the design and the basic colors, that was one of the appeals. It’s a classic look that should feel current no matter how long he has it (I hope).

  7. This blanket is utterly beautiful and thank you for the history. I grew up with the hudson bay blankets, (as kids we always thought they were kind of scratchy!) and this evokes memories from the farm.

    1. During my research, I saw the blanket in old paintings depicting the bartering with Native American tribes and in family ensembles. The original ones demand quite a bit on eBay. So glad you liked the post.

  8. It’s a very special gift and one for him to treasure forever. Now I think you should use the left-overs to make a mini one to put away for the special day when he says that he and his wife have something to tell you…

  9. How very ambitious. An absolutely awesome undertaking. An heirloom, to be sure. Makes my heart swell to think of the love that went into every stitch. I can only imagine the frustration with all of the knots. I am not so sure I would have been able to see a project such as this to fruition. (I have a tendency to stick to small projects, but would love to do something similar.)

    Congratulations on a job very well done.

  10. Lovely post: interesting, well-written story, impressive research, even more impressive workmanship (talent, skill, consistency), and great photos. I may mark all my blankets with points so I’ll know their sizes. And you’ve just provided inspiration for a crocheted hat. (I cannot knit!)

  11. Such a gorgeous gift for your son! I loved reading about the history of this type of blanket and really like the beautiful colors of the blanket you made.

  12. Absolutely beautiful! What a lucky boy! I crocheted my first ever blanket for my boy, but he was only one at the time so it was thankfully much smaller than yours! I am so impressed by your perseverance and attention to detail.

    1. Thanks. It was a large undertaking and I had my moments of boredom. I just kept at it on evenings and weekends. Once I got towards the end, it seemed to go faster!

  13. This blanket is beautiful, I recently knitted a throw for my Grandmother (who taught me to knit) and I hope to knit something similar for myself soon! Your pictures are also lovely:)

      1. No it’s not- actually come to think of it I haven’t taken a picture of it! A must do and hopefully i will get round to it soon!:)

  14. Would it be possible to share the pattern? I’m not great at bring able to translate the visual into the process! It’s such an amazing gift.

    1. Using the Cascade Yarn and a US 7 circular needle, I cast on 238 stitches. This produced a blanket size of 72″ x 68″. Gauge is 14 stitches over 4 inches/35 centimeters and 7.5 rows per inch. This blanket is very wide spanning across a double bed and tall enough to completely cover a growing teenager. Knit all rows.
      40 rows white
      24 rows navy
      24 rows white
      24 rows yellow
      24 rows white
      24 rows red
      24 rows white
      24 rows green
      For the middle white section, make it as long as you like. Then repeat the above with the colors in reverse (green-white-red-white-yellow-white-navy-white). I would have preferred if the middle white section had been longer. If I were to knit this blanket again, I would probably knit more white rows in the middle and fewer white rows in between the colors. Hope this is clear!

  15. I just started following your blog and what a beautiful story. I shared it with my eleven year old son because I was touched. My son said that looks awesome! I know how it warms my heart when my child asks for me to make this something. I have a daughter and a son and to think that one day they could give what I made them to their children makes me warm and fuzzy. Thank you for this beautiful post and the blanket is absolutely beautiful.

  16. Do you know how your blanket washed, i see lots of comments on the 220. Saying it pelts. Beautiful blanket.

    1. It does get small balled up pelts of the wool when washed. My son uses the blanket all the time so it does need a washing every now and then. If used less often, I would probably recommend spot cleaning.

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