When we first saw her knitting project bags on Etsy, we immediately fell in love with them. Joan and I have different styles and tastes (case in point: she is a knitter and I’m a crocheter), so when we both fell in love with Jésabelle’s bags we knew there was something special about them. They are minimalistic, fashionable, portable, timeless and just straight up cool.
As I mentioned in the post about HANK & HOOK x Artisans, Jésabelle B. is our very first artisan collaboration. She lives and works in Otterburn Park, Québec where she’s been running her Etsy store, OtterburnPQ, since 2010. In honor of our collaboration, she created a limited edition bag just for our customers, so don’t miss out on this gem!
Here’s our interview with her.
H&H: Tell us Jésabelle, how did you get the idea of making the knitting project bags?
Jésabelle: One day, my grandmother came to my house and gave me a little bag that was made out of thin green linen. It had a bird hand embroidered on the front. She said to me: “Here, I think you will like it and I know that you will take care of it”. I asked what it was and where it came from. She told me that she used it while she knitted so she would have her hands free. And then she said that her mother also used it, because she made it when she was young… Around 1890…! I don’t know how it survived that long, but I will cherish it for a long time!
H&H: How old were you when you learned to sew? Who taught you?
Jésabelle: My mother was always sewing and I remember listening to music in her studio while playing with jars filled with buttons. She showed me how to use her sewing machine when I was about 12 years old. I have been sewing on and off since then, but really picked it up when I reached my 30’s.
H&H: We see by your project bags that you like clean and minimal design. What inspires your creativity?
Jésabelle: Don’t get me wrong, I love a lot of colors, and patterned fabric, I use those a lot in my daily life. For the knitting bags, I thought that I would use something simple that would go through the years. I like the idea of using classics like linen, stripes or denim - I don’t think that those can go out of style. I want people to use the knitting bags for a long time and not put them on the side because they are not in fashion anymore. They also let the yarn be the star…
H&H: What’s the most rewarding aspect of selling your creations online? What is the most challenging?
Jésabelle: It is really gratifying to know that someone is willing to spend money to buy a bag that I made in my studio with my own two hands. I think the most challenging is to try to never disappoint and to always, always be at your best.
H&H: Do you remember how you felt when you sold your very first project bag online?
Jésabelle: Well… I called my mom yelling!
H&H: What advice do you have for up and coming crafters/artisans selling their creations online?
Jésabelle: Make what you like and how you like it.
H&H: Now a few random questions about you. What’s your favorite movie, TV show, or music to listen to while making your bags?
Jésabelle: I like to work in silence. When I’m at my machine, it’s when I make my to do lists and more importantly, when I get new ideas. But if I get free time to knit, I like to watch (don’t laugh!) Antique Roadshow :)
H&H: And finally, to the hardest question. If you could only eat one food for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Jésabelle: French Fries.
Interested in becoming a HANK & HOOK artisan? Send us a message!