This page records my first attempt to handweave, full and finish a Point Blanket. I have followed as closely as possible the information provided in 'The Blanket: an illustrated history of the Hudson's Bay Point Blanket' by Harold Tichenor (his website can be found here).


Loom Threaded

The loom threaded.

Selvedge Threading

Threading at the selvedge

Dressing the loom

The loom is dressed with the warp from back to from - my preferred method. The first photograph show the loom with the blankets 378 warp threads threaded through the loom's heddles. The second photograph shows the selvedge threads. The three outer threads are doubled through heddles 1, 3 and 1 rather than 1, 2 and 3. This produces a plain-weave-like intersection to these threads (actually a basket weave) to provide extra strength to the selvedges. The photograph below shows the loom ready for weaving with the reed sleyed and the warp tied to the cloth beam.

Loom Dressed

The loom dressed.

Weaving the Blankets

The top photograph shows the way in which the weft is angled in the warp shed so as to maximize the amount of weft beaten and hence minimize the draw-in at the selvedges. The weft is roughly five inches from peak to trough. The other pictures show the blankets after the first red header has been woven in, and one shows the weaving in close-up.

Web closeup

Close-up of the weave.

Double-bubbling the weft

Double-bubbling the weft.

Blanket after weaving the header

Blanket after weaving the red header

Weaving the points 01

1. Weft (doubled) for the first point

Weaving the points 02

2. Half the weft is woven in the opposite shed to the preceding pink weft

Weaving the points 03

3. First weft beaten in

Weaving the points 04

4. Following the next pink row, the second weft is woven into the opposite shed

Weaving the points 05

5. Second weft beaten in

Weaving the points 07

6. Larger point woven in and trimmed

Weaving the points 08

7. Separation between the first and second points (18 weft picks - approx 2.5 inches)

Weaving the points

The points of the blanket were either woven in during the production of the blanket or were sewn in after the blanket had been woven, the first being the most typical method for Hudson's Bay blankets. Three approaches to weaving the points have occurred to me: adding red point weft to the pink blanket weft by weaving the points in on the opposite shed to the preceding pink blanket row, as before, but weaving the points in on the same shed as the preceding pink blanket row, and replacing the pink blanket weft with red point weft and interlocking the two wefts tapestry-fashion.

The First Approach - weaving the points on opposites

Point blankets are woven in twill weave which is produced by repeatedly threading the four shafts in the order 1, 2, 3 and 4, and weaving by raising first shafts 1 and 2 and throwing the weft, then 2 and 3 and throwing the weft, then 3 and 4 and throwing the weft, then 4 and 1 and throwing the weft, and then back round to 1 and 2. So to add the red point weft to the pink blanket weft on the opposite shed, first shafts 1 and 2 are raised and the pink weft thrown. Then the opposite shafts are raised, that is 3 and 4, and the red point weft inserted and beaten in. The second pink blanket weft is then thrown with shafts 2 and 3 raised (the next in the twill sequence), and the point weft added with the opposite shafts to this pick raised, 4 and 1, and beaten in. Then the usual twill sequence continues with shaft 3 and 4, followed by 4 and 1.

Weaving the points 09

8. First weft of second smaller point woven on the opposite shed to the preceding pink weft

Weaving the points 10

9. First weft of smaller point beaten in

Weaving the points 11

10. Following the next pink weft, the second weft of the point is woven on the opposite shed

Weaving the points 12

11. Second weft beaten in

Weaving the points 13

12. Points completed

Weaving the points 101

1. Weft (doubled) for the first point

Weaving the points 102

2. Half the weft is woven in the same shed to the preceding pink weft

Weaving the points 103

3. First weft beaten in

Weaving the points 104

4. The second point weft is inserted, followed by the next pink row, both into the same shed

Weaving the points 105

5. Second weft beaten in

Weaving the points 107

6. Weft (doubled) for the second smaller point

The Second Approach - weaving the points in the same shed

This is the simplest approach to weaving in the points. After the blanket weft has been thrown from left to right, the point weft is added in the same shed and then both wefts beaten into positon at the fell of the cloth. The next shed is opened, the point weft is inserted and then the blanket weft is thrown from right to left, in the same shed. The two wefts are then beaten into position and the point weft is trimmed.

Weaving the points 108

7. First weft of second smaller point woven on the same shed to the preceding pink weft

Weaving the points 109

8. First weft of second smaller point beaten in and the second point weft inserted into the same shed but before the second blanket weft

Weaving the points 110

9. Smaller point beaten in

Weaving the points 111

10. The points woven in on the same shed

Weaving the points 201

1. Weft (doubled) for the first point

Weaving the points 202

2. The pink blanket weft can be seen top right coming out of the shed. The red point weft has been added in the same shed, coming out of it between the same two warp threads.

Weaving the points 203

3. One of the selvedge ends of the red point weft is cut about an inch from the selvedge and the end half inch pulled up through the web. The other end is turned around the selvedge thread and fed back through the shed, past the pulled out thread, and then itself pulled up through the web. This makes the neatest join.

Weaving the points 204

4. The wefts are beaten

Weaving the points 205

5. The two wefts are interlocked

Weaving the points 206

6. The red point weft is placed in the same shed as the pink blanket weft

Weaving the points 207

7. The wefts are beaten in and the selvedge end of the red point weft is cut to form two ends and is then treated as above (3.)

Weaving the points 208

8. The first point is woven in

The Third Approach - weaving the points by interlocking in tapestry style

In this approach I replace the pink blanket weft with red point weft instead of adding it. So with the pink weft running from right to left, the shuttle is brought out of the shed between two warps at roughly the right distance from the selvedge. The point weft is then placed in the same shed, running from the selvedge to the same two warps, where it is also brought up out of the shed. These two wefts are then beaten into place, and then the ends are wrapped around one another (interlocked). The next shed is formed and the shuttle with the pink blanket weft is placed back into the shed between the two warps from which it was removed, and thrown to the right selvedge. The red point weft is placed back into the shed and run out to the left selvedge. The weft are then beaten into position and the point weft trimmed.

Weaving the points 209

9. Weft (doubled) for the second 'half' point

Weaving the points 210

10. The pink blanket weft and the red point weft have been placed in the same shed, coming out of it between the same two warp threads.<

Weaving the points 211

11. The two wefts beaten.

Weaving the points 212

12. The selvedge ends of the red weft tidied up

Weaving the points 213

13. The wefts interlocked

Weaving the points 215

14. The wefts beaten in

Weaving the points 216

15. The points woven in

Fulling the cloth

When the three blankets had been woven they were cut from the loom. To protect the ends of the cloth, the warp ends were knotted together in groups of four. The selvedges were then whip stitched together with cotton to form a long tube. The knotted ends were then whip stitched together to form a large 'inner tube' or torus. This helps to even the fulling across the whole of the cloth, otherwise the centre can full more then the edges. The cloth is then placed evenly around the central pillar of a top-loading washing machine, filled with soapy water at around 84oF. The cloth is then agitated for 24 minutes until the width has reduced by 50% of the finished width; the cloth was 54" wide before fulling, 35.5" after fulling.

Whip Stitching

Whip stitching

Detail of Web

Close up of the cloth before fulling.

Cloth off the loom

The cloth off the loom.

Whip Stitching Detail

Detail of whip stitching

Fulled Cloth

Fulled cloth.