Watch the Mail, Watch This Space & See You TONIGHT!

Watch Your Mailbox…

As hinted at previously here, we’ve been working away like Santa’s elves on a new Shop Local project and the results are in! Watch your mailbox today for a holiday coupon booklet including deals and featured items from 50 local businesses.

There are tons of great savings from your favourite stores and maybe even a few shops you haven’t discovered yet. For example, did you know that tucked away beside The Wool Mill (who are offering a coupon for 10% off) we have an amazing courier company, A-Way Courier, that provides meaningful employment for people with direct experience with the mental health system? Try them out with a coupon for a free delivery. Or did you know we have a brand new spot for yoga, Ankh Yoga studio, at the corner of Moberly and Danforth? Try a class for $10 with your coupon booklet.

If you don’t receive your copy in the mail, you can print it off here. Please bring your booklet with you when you do your holiday shopping to redeem all the deals. Only 1 coupon per customer, per store.

HUGE thank yous to volunteers Niamh Hill for managing the project and to graphic designers Heather Corbin and Queenie Best for making the booklet look gorgeous.

Watch This Space: Our Newest Pop-up Shop

All the Pop-up Shops are also featured in the coupon booklet (click here for current shop details), including our newest one, jewelry store Zilberschmuck. Located in Yummy Stuff’s old space at 1938 Danforth, Zilberschmuck will be opening this Friday, November 22 (or possibly earlier). The store carries contemporary, Canadian-made jewelry like the beautiful necklace pictured below.

Photo: Beautiful jewellery by Canadian artists including this lovely piece by Dianne Karg Baron.

Danforth Gem – The Wool Mill

If you’re new to DECA Diaries, Danforth Gems are the great shops on our stretch of the Danforth that you may not have yet uncovered.  Thanks so much to Gillian Grace for this installment about the The Wool Mill, east of Woodbine on Danforth.

Forget the Leafs—if Toronto wants a pastime at which it can really shine, try knitting. The city is known for its way with wool, even earning a special shout-out from Vogue Knitting for T.O.’s “unusual number of excellent yarn stores.” Danforth East is lucky enough to have one of those shops within walking distance. The oldest wool store in Toronto, the Wool Mill has been on Danforth just east of Woodbine for the past 17 years (current owner Wendy Mortimer used to buy yarn there as a child).

The Wool Mill stocks everything from the classics—Canadian-processed merinos from Mission Falls—and summery cottons to bamboo mixes and super-soft balls made from a mix of possum yarn and wool. As with food, Mortimer says, people are becoming more conscious of how the wool they use is produced; organic yarns with low-impact dyes are increasingly popular, as is fair trade. Buy a skein of Mirasol yarn, and you’ll be helping fund the construction of a centre for the children of alpaca shepherds in the Peruvian Andes.

Mortimer, an expert knitter, can advise on everything from the history of the craft to the best knitting podcasts. Her needlework has appeared in more than 100 movies, including a recreation of Martha Stewart’s get-out-of-jail poncho for Cybill Shepherd; the coat, booties and hat for Nicole Kidman’s dog in To Die For; and Hilary Swank’s high-flying knitwear in Amelia. Her toughest project was a sweater for Simon Birch, which was supposed to look “really bad;” it kept getting returned with instructions to “make it look worse.”

Mortimer—who started knitting for a Brownies badge, and says she’s knit “pretty much everything you can possibly think of” and made “every mistake in the book”—is also a (very) patient teacher. She can quickly decipher patterns that look more like a WWII-era code than a template for a sweater and get even the most tangled, dropped-stitch-laden projects back on track. A beginner’s class, starting in January, will have newbies knitting and purling a hat or an outfit for a baby; other regular week-night classes cater to more experienced knitters.

Most popular, especially around the holidays, are small, quickly completed projects such as socks, mittens, hats and wristers. But it’s not just a way to make impressive gifts—there’s something incredibly soothing about the act of wrapping the yarn, pulling it through, and repeating. “Knitting,” says Mortimer, “is like a meditation. It allows the body to keep itself busy so the mind can become more still.”

The Wool Mill – 2170 Danforth Ave. 416-696-2670

Hours: Mon – Fri 10:30 – 6, Sat 10:30 – 5

Gillian Grace is a freelance writer and editor.