How To Spot A Fake Hudson Bay Blanket: A Historical Approach

Do you know how to spot a fake Hudson Bay blanket? If you live in North America, chances are that you’ve seen a Hudson Bay blanket at some point. It is a wool blanket designed with a series of stripes and points, commonly white with green, red, yellow, and indigo stripes.

 

how to spot a fake hudson bay blanket

How To Know If A Hudson Bay Blanket Is Fake

The Hudson Bay blanket may be a Canadian icon. However, unlike Tim Horton’s, one of these will set you back a couple of hundred dollars. You don’t have to worry about the price as it will last for generations — if you have an authentic one, that is.

Hudson Bay blankets are made of 100% wool and have an authenticity seal on one corner that indicates the year the Hudson’s Bay Company was incorporated: in 1670. The HBC authenticity label was explicitly created to distinguish HBC blankets from other similar-looking ones, such as the ones made by Oregon-based blanket company Pendleton, which started producing their blankets in 1916.

The Hudson Bay Point Blanket was traditionally made in plain colors with a singular bar, called a heading on either end. However, over the years, the company has created different designs to accommodate the preferences of Indigenous nations.

 

Brief History Of The Hudson Bay Blanket

The Hudson Bay point blanket was initially traded in Canada and the United States to the First Nations (Indigenous groups) in exchange for beaver pelts. In the 1700s, wool blankets accounted for over 60% of traded goods in North America. Today they have become collectibles that could rack up thousands of dollars for their authenticity.

To determine the value of the HBC blanket, determinants such as age, size, color, pattern rarity, and condition come into play. However, collectible point blankets such as the Queen Elizabeth II coronation blankets from 1953 or an even rarer 1937 coronation blanket can cost as high as $600 to $1,300.

Later on, competitors began selling blankets of a similar quality, which calls for an authentication label from the brand. HBC added these authentication labels in 1890, over a hundred years since they were first produced.

The label was updated in April 2017, rotating it from portrait to landscape form, making it easier to display English and French markings on either side of the HBC crest. To celebrate Canada’s 150th Anniversary the same year, HBC also added a label on the blanket showing a photo of voyagers in a canoe, with the word “Canada” printed at the top.

 

Hudson bay blanket design

The original HBC point blankets had a single blue or red stripe across each end. However, in the mid-1800s, the blankets were produced with a green, red, yellow, and indigo stripe on a white background. These four-stripe blankets became more popular and were easily produced using colorfast dyes.

Indigenous communities have different design preferences for their blankets. For instance, Inuit people preferred plain white blankets for camouflage purposes, while the Tsimshian and Tlingit groups preferred designs in deep blue. Still, Nuu-chah-nulth nations preferred their blankets green, while many in Coast Salish communities preferred theirs to be red.

It is not clear why these groups have different color preferences, but it is believed that they chose specific patterns and colors based on spiritual meanings and practical uses. The HBC blankets, however, do not come without controversies.

Some Indigenous People believe that the point blankets represented forces of colonization. It represented the imperial powers that dispossessed them of their lands and livelihood.

HBC had expanded their designs since their beginnings in the 17th century, but they do occasionally produce blankets for special events. For instance, they created a deep purple blanket with white stripes for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.

In May 2020, HBC celebrated its 350th Anniversary and released a series of limited-edition blankets in different designs and patterns. The company also added a “Special Edition” label with a picture of a sailing vessel and the words “Celebrating HBC’s 350th Anniversary.”

 

The blanket point system

The blanket points are the short black lines woven into the hem of the blanket, just above the bottom set of stripes. They are usually about four inches in length, except for half points, about two inches.

These points indicate the overall finished size of the blanket, allowing buyers to determine the size of the blankets even when folded. Today, the most common point sizes for HBC blankets are the 3.5 point size (twin bed), 4 (double), 6 (queen size), and 8 (king size).

 

Conclusion

The HBC point blanket has become very popular and is now considered an icon of Canadian style. The colors of the HBC blanket have even been used as part of the HBC collection brand and can be seen on products like umbrellas and smartphone cases.

Despite its popularity, the blanket colors and stripes have no specific meaning. However, the red, indigo, green, and yellow colors were popular during the reign of Queen Anne from 1702 to 1704 and are known to be Queen Annes’ colors.

Hudson’s Bay stores in Canada still sell authentic Hudson Bay blankets. They can also be found at Lord & Taylor, a luxury department store in the United States, formerly Hudson’s Bay sister chain.

how to machine quilt a baby blanket

How To Machine Quilt A Baby Blanket: Basic 3-Step DIY Guide

Babies love soft things. If you’re a quilter with a little one, it’s essential to know how to machine quilt a baby blanket for them to snuggle with.

You’ll need a sewing machine, quite a few fabrics, and some patience. If all goes well, your baby will bask in the comfort of a newly quilted blanket in no time.

 

How Do You Machine Quilt A Baby Blanket?

Whether it’s your first time quilting or you need a recap, you need to invest in different fabrics for all the blanket parts.

To start, you’ll need the main fabric that will serve as the centerpiece of the blanket. Regarding measurements, the average starting size for a baby blanket is 40 to 42 inches, so you need the fabric to measure around this range.

You’ll also want a fabric for the backing or reverse side. The material will serve as a good complement for the main design or pattern. Measurements around 1 and ¼ to 1 and ½ yards should suffice.

Next is a binding fabric. This material will help hold the blanket together. You’ll need around 1/3 to ½ yard of this.

You’ll also need batting. The purpose is to ensure the blanket is soft and comfy on the inside.

Forty-two inches is a suitable measurement. Remember, the quality depends on the material, so decide what kind of batting will suit the baby. Last but not least, you’ll need pins, of course.

You might be thinking of pre-washing the fabrics before you start the project. It’s a good idea, no doubt, but many high-quality fabrics are color-safe. You won’t have to worry about pre-washing too much.

 

Step #1: Sandwich the materials

Start with the backing fabric. You probably have already noticed that its size is slightly bigger than the main fabric.

The reason for this is you start machine quilting from the blanket’s top, and everything beneath can move a bit during the process. If your backing is bigger than everything else, it won’t come off smaller than the front by mistake.

Lay the backing flat on the floor. When it’s all smoothed out, place the batting in the center. Repeat this with the main fabric.

Make sure they’re all appropriately centered. You should be able to see all three layers of this “fabric sandwich.”

From here, you can use pins to keep them in place.

 

Step #2: Stitch the layers

At this point, you can now let the machine do the work. Stitching is also the part where you get creative.

It may seem like you’re just trying to stitch the three layers together at first glance. However, the beauty of quilting comes in here as you can decide how the stitches will look on the quilt. This kind of creative control is why there are many ways to stitch a quilt.

When you’ve finished stitching, you don’t stop there. Remember the binding fabric?

 

Step #3: Bind the quilt

Binding is a rather tricky task. With a bit of patience, you’ll get the whole blanket finished and looking good.

Cut out the binding fabric into strips that measure 2 and ½ inches x the width of the blanket. Sew all the strips together by the shorter sides. Fold the result in half and press it down.

You can start pinning the binding on the blanket starting from the middle of one side. Make sure to place the binding on the front side. Start gradually pinning the binding to the side of the blanket.

When you reach a corner, stick a pin and fold the binding 45 degrees opposite the adjacent side. Fold it back into itself so that it aligns with the adjoining side and stick another pin. You should see a triangular flap on the corner.

When you reach the starting point, take both ends of the strips and fold the ends down. Don’t forget to pin both folds down.

Make sure the two ends still meet. You may want to press this part with an iron to make the folds crease.

Cut off any excess to about ¼ inch from the folds. Take off the pins, match the strips’ right sides, fasten with a pin again, and sew a seam on the crease. Open the fold, press it down, refold it, and pin it back again.

Now you can start sewing the binding in place. Start sewing with a ¼ inch allowance, removing pins as you go.

When you get to the flaps, stop when you’re ¼ inch away. Rotate the blanket and make sure the flap is in the opposite direction. Sew the next seam by the edge of the last side.

Once you’ve finished sewing, fold the binding over to the back. At this point, you’ll have to sew it to the backing by hand.

There you have it! Once you see how the blanket has turned out, you can congratulate yourself for a job well done.

 

Conclusion

Quilting sure is challenging, but who doesn’t love a challenge? It’ll be worthwhile once the lucky recipient feels nice and cozy rolling around in it. Now that you know how to machine quilt a baby blanket, your little one will be in for a treat!

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