Thursday, February 16, 2012

Hudson Bay Point Blanket Quilt and Free Pattern

If I could figure out how, I'd move to a wintery cabin in the woods for the rest of my life.

Ok maybe not the rest of my life. But I would go there often.

I like blankets. I like making them. I like snuggling them. My faux fur and fleece throw from Target is one of my favorite possessions. Just give me a warm crackling fire while the icy wind howls outside and I am one happy girl.

I've loved Hudson Bay Point Blankets for a little while now, but when I saw the Purl Bee's knitted baby blanket version, I was pretty inspired. So I decided to make a quilted version.

*UPDATE: This quilt has now been listed in my etsy store*

When I told a few people what I was making, instead of responding with, 'ohhh, a quilted Hudson Bay Point Blanket, why didn't I think of that,' they just stared at me. Nobody had any idea what the hell I was talking about. So allow me to give a little background.

Hudson Bay Point Blankets were heavy wool blankets made in the 1700's and 1800's to be traded amongst fur trappers in Canada and the native Indian tribes that lived there. At that time they were highly sought after for being very warm in the brutal Canadian winters.

photo courtesy of vintagebutterfly94

The traditional stripes of indigo, yellow, red and green became popular and were easily reproduced with colorfast dyes of that era.

Now they are iconic collector's items. And guess what, the British company is still in business and still making blankets.

The smaller indigo hash marks along the right edge are actually a nifty little feature - they allowed those trading with the blankets to know the size of the blanket without unfolding it. That's why they are called point blankets. The more hash marks or points, the bigger the blanket. Cool huh? I think so, at least.

Instead of doing solid stripes, I pieced each stripe with three different solids. I wanted the final product to really read 'quilt,' so I was going for that patchy look. The green was a little tricky because it was more of a bluish kelly green [like the 'jungle green' Crayola crayon, the colors from a box of 64 will forever be the basis of my color identification]. I added in a few teal blocks with regular kelly green and I think, from a distance, the effect kind of works.

The back is a homespun looking maroon and tan gingham. I thought it added to the wintery-cabiny-snuggliness.

For the binding I used a navy plaid.

The quilt's dimensions are about 48" x 78". Perfect for sitting in the sunny grass.

This quilt, by the way, is what I made from my rainbowlicious stack of fabrics that I've mentioned a few times. Here is a picture of that stack, appearing for the record third time on my blog:

If you'd like to make your own Hudson Bay Blanket quilt, here are some quickie directions for piecing the top. Please leave a comment if you have any questions! Note: I did not include dimensions for all the piecing in each colored stripe. I honestly just did it randomly and stopped when it was the right length. So just piece a random strip, then trim it down to the dimensions listed below. Also, for all the A and B white strips, I actually pieced them together in 2 parts, since I was cutting crosswise on the fabric and could only get a 43"ish strip. But if you want you could get enough fabric to be able to cut 48" lengthwise and cut those pieces all as one piece. Make sense I hope?

A: 6.25" x 48" [cut 2 from white]
B: 3.25" x 48"[cut 6 from white and 2 each from red, yellow, green and blue]
C: 41.5" x 33" [cut 1 from white]
D: 1.25" x 7" [cut 3 from dark blue]
E: 2.5" x 7" [cut 1 from white]
F: 2" x 7" [cut 2 from white]
G: 26.25" x 7" [cut 1 from white]

Use a 1/4" seam allowance.

Join one A piece and 7 B pieces, working from A in towards the center, in the following order: A, B[blue], B[white], B[yellow], B[white], B[red], B[white], B[green]. Repeat for other set of A and B pieces.

Join D pieces with F pieces in this order: D, F, D, F, D.

Join E piece to one end of F/D piece and G to other end.

Join pieced hash mark strip to short end of C.

Join one striped piece to each side of center white piece.


  1. Awesomeness! Someday I'm making one. Thanks! :)

  2. I loved the history and information on the Hudson Bay Blanket! I love the quilted version too...maybe more! Thanks for a fun idea.

  3. you're both welcome, glad you like it! :]

  4. BRILLIANT! I'm thrilled that my photo helped illustrate your inspiration. And I for one, totally GOT it! Well done.

  5. Genius! Oh my gosh this is the quilt pattern I've been searching for! Thank you so much for sharing this!

    I was given a Leibster award that I have to pass on to 5 other bloggers and you totally get one because this quilt makes my heart sing! Check it out!

  6. This is absolutely gorgeous! As a Canadian born and raised on the prairies, I've been around these blankets and all things Hudson Bay related my whole life, so I absolutely LOVE seeing other people appreciate a part of our history. You did a wonderful job!! :)

  7. Your quilt rocks and thanks for the history lesson! How did you make the ribbon with your "Miss Make" moniker? Thanks again.

    1. thanks! the ribbon is actually from a website called, you can get custom printed ribbon in any color with any color ink, i love them.

  8. Beautiful blanket/quilt, and the backing fabric is perfect! I love the history - never knew what the hash marks were for, but it really makes a lot of sense now! Thanks for sharing both your lovely work and the history!

  9. Writing to you from a "cabin" in the winter woods of Canada, near an original Hudson's Bay Company Fort, to say I LOVE the quilt. Brilliant!

    I live in Rocky Mountain House, Alberta, near the site of "Rocky Mountain House"(, a Hudson's Bay Company Fort established in 1799 at the gateway to the Rocky Mountains. Must make one, especially since it is so significant to where I live! Thanks for the instructions! It's beautiful.

    coraquilts at

  10. oooh. I love it. i have my own genuine Hudson's Bay Point blanket, and it is the scratchiest, yet softest ( if that's possible) blanket I own. It comforted my through a lot of cold Canadian nights too. I can still remember the first time i slept in it way back when; i woke up the next morning with a rash from the scratchy wool, but eventually my "delecate skin" as my grandmother called it got used to it. Its beautiful, and i still love curling up in it every night.your quilt is brilliant. Thanks for the Canadian pride. :D

  11. Can I say...I looove knitting, but this made me want to brush the dust off my sewing machine and attempt to NOT sew my fingers to my cloth this time....STUNNING, STUNNING STUNNING <3

  12. What a lovely quilt. As a Canadian I instantly knew what you where talking about. You did a fantastic job of the history as well. Thank you from a friend up north.

  13. this is so gorgeous! I wish I had a sewing machine!

  14. MY reaction was, "OH MY GOSH, why didn't I think of that?!"
    I love it. *pat yourself on the back*

    1. haha i'm glad you're as excited as me!! *patting*

  15. Love it! Even though I live in TX now, I grew up in Alberta, so these blankets are iconic "Canada" to me.

  16. Lovely idea.. must make one myself. I have a number of the blankets, but find them too warm with central heating we have now. They were great at the cottage on those cold Fall nights. Here are a couple of links that explain the history and the point system for those of your readers that might be interested... and ...
    You may have noticed the all red point blanket coats worn by the Canadian Olympic team at the Sochi Olympics 2014... Still an iconic symbol for Canada.
    Thanks for the inspiration.

  17. While I don't know it as a fact I read somewhere long ago that the hash marks indicated the cost of the blanket in Beaver pellets.

  18. just as an FYI the preferred term for Indigenous peoples in Canada is either First Nations, or Indigenous. Although the term "American Indian" is correct in the USA, in Canada it's considered backwards.


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