The show at Drygoods Design has come to an end. What an amazing experience. I’m so glad I held out for the perfect venue. Now I need to start planning for the next batch. In the mean time, let me introduce you to Esmari. At the time of this interview she owned a beautiful Canadian online fabric shop called Warp & Weft Exquisite Textiles. We were all very sad when it closed late in 2014. BUT now Esmari is off and running, literately, she’s doing a 1/2 marathon in just a little bit.
Esmari has beautiful taste in fabric! In 2014 we joined forces and created an online calendar. These drawings weren’t in the Drygoods show as they sold last year (not a bad problem to have). Adding a new twist to “The Stash Drawing Project!”, Esmari supplied all the goodies and I supplied well, the drawing part. Through our online back and forth, although we did meet once in person, I’ve discovered she’s very funny, has great taste in music (similar to mine that is) and she can drive a forklift! You gotta love that! It’s on my bucket list!
Still how did this all come to be? How did we find each other? Well, we met through a challenge she gave our guild in mid 2013. At the time I was the FVMQG’s treasurer and needed to send her a cheque for the challenge. Naturally I used one of my cards to send it. Bada bing, bada boom… We got to chatting because she loved the card! Late in 2013, I proposed this crazy 2014 calendar idea. In turn she invited me to join her Warp and Weft Sewing Society, an online community where several of us, with Esmari at the helm, sewed challenges using Lotta Jansdotters and Elizabeth Olwen’s fabric. It was such fun to see what everyone made! When we weren’t doing challenges everyone sewed all kinds of things and I drew these calendars. Everyone’s work, of course, was smashing, because remember Esmari has excellent taste in fabric… and people!
1. You’re the owner of Warp & Weft Exquisite Textiles. How on earth do you ever decide on what fabric and notions to bring in? Are they easy to pick? Do you have a system? Or do you just go by your gut? Hah! It’s never, ever easy. Unless there’s a quarter that’s really off for whatever reason it’s never easy to know which collections to pick because there’ll be so many fabulous ones to choose from. It’s torture, I tell ya! I do try to follow my gut, though, and I always pick something that I’ll be happy to use in my own home. I’m also quite critical of the designs and the overall look of a collection. There’s definitely a serious bit of curating that takes place before something hits the shelves at Warp & Weft!
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2. I’m intrigued by what you did before you opened your online fabric store. Can you tell us a bit about that? Ah well, yes, this is probably where the critiquing and curating of my inventory comes from. I trained as an Interior Designer in Belgium and have worked with high-end furniture and cabinetry manufacturers ever since. Most recently and before I started Warp & Weft I worked for a well-known German manufacturer in Toronto. The philosophy behind this company’s products is, purity of design, minimalism and the use of the absolute highest quality materials money can buy. That kind of set the tone for me with Warp & Weft too. Even though I’m not dealing with a super high-end product I still approach it from the same point of few as far as design and quality are concerned.
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3. In your 2013 Made In Feature I remember reading 5 thing people don’t know about you, that you can drive a forklift. Does that come in handy for moving bolts of fabric around? I can’t believe I didn’t think of that!! All this time I’ve been lugging bolts of fabric around and I could have been moving it with a forklift! Mind you, it would have to be a forklift that can do stairs because sadly my workspace is not on the ground floor…Let’s just say I’ve become quite buff since starting Warp & Weft!
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4a. You know I’m enamoured by your Merchant and Mills line. I love the pins: the regular pins, the glass headed ones, the entomology pins (they glide like butta!), your safety pins (the black, the light bulb and the French ones). Then of course there is the sewing repair kit and the folding ruler! I had never seen this line before and I’ve only seen it in San Francisco since. How did you come across them? Mmmmh, I had to think about that one but I think this is how the story goes. I am quite a big fan of Uppercase magazine and I was paging through one around the time I was starting Warp & Weft and I came across an advertisement for a UK based quilt shop which looked quite interesting and in browsing through their products I came across Merchant & Mills. It was love at first sight. I then got in touch with M & M and the rest is history.
4b. I’m also in love with your Sajou line – I don’t know how I lived without the linen thread. It’s another line I haven’t seen anywhere else. Can you tell us about it? I can’t recall how I came across Sajou but I can remember the day I received the catalogue from them! You can’t believe how many beautiful things they have – let’s just say trying to stick to your budget is futile! Their story is quite interesting. The Maison Sajou company, which was started in the late 1800s, was revived by an avid haberdashery collector and graphic designer in 2005. Frédérique Crestin-Billet started collecting haberdashery items from a very young age and since she’s become involved with Maison Sajou she has made it her business to keep traditional and specialized French workshops in business. Each pair of Sajou embroidery scissors, for instance, is handcrafted in workshops that have often been in families for generations and Sajou linens and threads are all manufactured in the mills in the Northern parts of France, which is traditional the home of textiles and threads. So not only are their products of the same heritage and quality as back in the 1800s but they also still use the same packaging designs as back then which gives everything a wonderful vintage feel to it. I find it fascinating that in this day and age there are still some things we can use that haven’t changed a bit in more than 150 years. It kind of puts things into perspective for me.
* All calendars measured 14″ high by 11″ wide- 2″ deep
5. Let’s say you were on the Newly-wed Game. Behind a curtain you pick your 3 favourite fabrics from your stash. Then your husband has to guess which 3 you picked. Would he pick correctly? You want to go test him now don’t you? Don’t worry we’ll wait… did he get it right? Which ones did you pick and which ones did he pick? Hahaha! I’d test him right now but as has been the case for most of this year my husband has been working away from home so the best I can do is send him the link to my website and ask him to pick three items. I’m pretty sure he won’t have a clue though…
I could, however, tell you which of my crafting and sewing items he really likes for himself. He has since been banned from using some of these – see if you can guess which ones they are:
- My hot glue gun – I no longer know where it is or whether it is still functioning. It’s probably ended up in the garage. I do know that he complained to me about it being useless because the wires he tried to glue to the baseboards have come unstuck now. Go figure.
- My rotary cutter – I caught him cutting something very random from the garage with it once. Once being the operative word her. Quite possibly it also had something to do with the hot glue gun…
- My sewing machine – he wanted to take it apart the day I got it “because he’d never seen the insides of a sewing machine before!”. It led to use having a huge argument because he thought I was being selfish for not letting him poke around the guts of my brand new machine. He is an engineer after all – what could possibly go wrong??!!
Curious about the other fabric stashes? Just click HERE.