There are few things in the world more cozy and comforting than something that was knitted by hand. From the hats and scarves that keep us warm in winter, to the blankets that we nap with on the couch, knits are the wearable equivalent of chicken soup.
But the wonder of knitting and crochet doesn’t end there. Knit wear is a popular medium among some of the world’s best fashion designers, and is always a favorite for gift giving. At Tres Belle Knits, Christina Boulard channels her creativity into everything from coffee cozies to baby cocoons. Oh Canada has put Tres Belle Knits in the spotlight.
Oh Canada: Of all the things that you create, which item or style is your favorite?
Christina: I love to create baby items. Especially for newborns. They hardly take any time to make so it's pretty much instant gratification. I also love how tiny they are...it brings me back to when my 2 year old was a wee one. And I love to see my new creations on teeny new people!
Oh Canada: Where did you learn your skills?
Christina: Honestly? The internet! I taught myself to knit by watching videos on You Tube and KnittingHelp.com. I also posted a lot of questions on the KnittingHelp forum. It's a great little community over there. Without them I think I would have thrown my needles out the window!
I also taught myself to crochet. Mostly through You Tube, but when I had questions, I would message my wonderful friend Joy (who I've never actually met in person! We met on a "new mommy" message board) on Facebook and she would help me out.
Oh Canada: Everyone has different motivations for making their unique wares. What drives you to create?
Christina: I've never been a creative person. I used to look at knit and crochet clothing and wish I could do something like that. I loved getting them as gifts for myself or my daughter but I thought it would be too difficult a thing to learn.
When I finally did finish my very first piece, I was amazed and proud and thrilled. And each and every time I finish a new creation, I still feel those same things.
That's what drives me. The feelings of pride and joy and accomplishment I get when I finish a piece or see someone wearing something I made with my very own hands. That's why I LOVE appreciation photos! There's no better feeling in the world.
Oh Canada: If you could learn to use any new technique or material, what would it be?
Christina: I would love to learn to write or paint. Both are completely different from what I do now.
Oh Canada: Any plans to incorporate a new product into your shop this year?
Christina: Yes! I'm working with a professional photographer and that has inspired me immensely! I'll be adding some newborn photo props like pea pods and cocoons as well as some hats for babies and bigger kids.
Oh Canada: What is your favorite thing about selling on Etsy?
Christina: The community, hands down. I belong to two great teams and a handful of BNR/BNS's. The people I get to chat with everyday make the slow weeks worth it.
Oh Canada: Do you have a number one tip for new sellers?
Christina: I do!
Don't expect it to happen overnight!
That was my HUGE mistake! I opened my shop in late November, and I got slammed with Christmas orders! It was so much that I could barely keep up! I was only knitting then and I was up until 3am trying to finish orders, then getting up the next morning to start all over again.
That REALLY fooled me! I thought that was what it would be like all the time. Boy, was I wrong! I sold my last Christmas order in mid-December. I didn't have another sale until mid-January! Even now, I can go weeks at a time without one sale and I market like crazy!
Oh Canada: What is your favorite thing to buy on Etsy?
Christina: Oooh, so many things! I'm always looking for cute dresses, clothes, ponies/bows and books for my daughter.
For my fiance, it's hockey stuff and funny tees.
But for me? I love soaps, edible goodies, anything Twilight or True Blood (Yeah, yeah, I'm addicted!), wall art (like paintings) and yarn.
Oh Canada: What is the number one best item in your shop right now?
Christina: At the moment, I'm really proud of my openwork fingerless mitts. They've made the front page! But very soon, I think that will change. I finished some very sweet baby items that I will be listing in the next couple of weeks, with brand new, professional pictures!
You can catch up with the latest news, products and sales at Tres Belle Knits on Twitter and on Facebook. Christina also shares her inspirations on her blog, Tres Belle Knits and Crochet. Some new additions to the shop include premade avatars and banners for Etsy sellers. To see even more of Christine’s designs, stop by Tres Belle Knits and see what’s fresh off the hooks!
Copyright 2010 Oh Canada Team and Tres Belle Knits