Last-Minute Shopping (or Staying Indie Under the Gun).

Photo and knit gun by Emily Cumming

Feeling under the gun?

The big City of Craft weekend has come and gone and we've taken a day to recover (with a lunar eclipse thrown in, no less). But now you all have four days left to finish all your shopping if you do that Christmas thing. Online shopping is now pretty much out if you want delivery before the weekend, so you are going to have to venture out into the world yourself.

If you are in the Toronto area, may we suggest this little clutch of vendors and sponsors (past and present) who run bricks and mortar shops and galleries:

1. the workroom - not only can you buy perfectly selected fabrics and crafting supplies (mostly geared towards sewing and quilting) here; the workroom also sells gift certificates that can be used for materials or workshops.

2. The Knit Cafe - The Knit Cafe offers supplies geared to the knitter and/or crocheter in your life. They have a great selection of yarns and tools (and a ball winder!). The Knit Cafe also sells gift certificates for their materials and full roster of workshops.

3. Kid Icarus - Situated in Kensignton Market, Kid Icarus carries a wide selection of their own impeccably hand printed posters, cards, calendars and more. They also stock a small yet focused collection of locally made work by other makers.

4. Coriander Girl - Looking for a lovely floral arrangement to bring to a holiday party or to decorate your own celebration? This is your place. Coriander Girl also stocks a little collection of handmade items that loosely relate to flowers and the home - vases, soaps, lotions, gift cards. Alison has a really focused eye and puts a clean collection of beautiful goods together. Plus, all of her florals are ethically sourced and arrangements can be made for almost every budget.

5. The Ontario Crafts Council Gallery - Love & Money is still on display until the end of the month, and almost everything is for sale. You wouldn't be able to collect your purchases until early January but something clever could be placed under the tree if you choose to give the gift of art. Shows like this are a great place to make really inexpensive purchases from emerging artists. Some pieces were even as low as $10! That's unheard of. And there is a surprising amount under the $200/$250 range. One way or another, make sure to go see the show.

6. tealish - former sponsor and total tea stars, tealish, will hook you up with tea and related supplies for anyone on your list. They are incredibly nice, knowledgeable and helpful in there, too. For me, tea makes a perfect hostess gift or present for those who have everything or want nothing.

7. Robber - Not only do these guys have an excellent collection of clothes and accessories (for men and women) but if you spy carefully you may see a City of Craft vendor or two behind the counter. Me, I want those awesome two-tone tights.

8. The Paper Place - packed full of making supplies for the paper craft set, The Paper Place also stocks a wide selection of locally made giftware and Japanese imports. Amid everything you could need for the book binder or origimist in your life, you will also find a veritable treasure trove of stocking stuffers for the design-oriented.

9. Type - Books! Lovingly selected books! Again, you may spy a City of Crafter working the shop. And it's right by the Paper Place for some one-stop shopping.

10. Art History - Art History (and adjoining shop, The Melissa) sell a great variety of locally made goods as well as vintage housewares, ephemera and miscellany. As handmade stuff goes, Art History probably focuses more on art multiples than most other shops. It is co-run by gallery owner and artist rep, Katharine Mulherin, so the smaller works from her amazing roster tend to pop up there are reasonable prices, too. Her roster is pretty swank.

If you are in the Vancouver area, may we suggest the annual Free Store hosted by our friends at Little Mountain Gallery. There is rad stuff every year and my mom always donates. Last year, she gave them her entire loom! Like, seriously. This year, it is on the 23rd.

Happy Madness,


PS - Our friend, Anabela also published two awesome local (Toronto) shopping guides here and here. There are some great ideas there (and some overlap because great minds think alike).

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