Welcome to a new edition of Maker Stories! Over the past couple of weeks you’ve been introduced to Neelmani Bagaria a 16 year old affiliated with a student run non profit organization, and Noorain Nizami a knit and Tunisian designer who is inspired by her son.
Today I will introduce you to Alexandra Tavel a knitwear designer based in New York City. Alexandra is the owner of Two of Wands, a label she launched in 2014. Her patterns for garments, accessories, and home decor have been featured in Vogue Knitting, Mollie Makes, Buzzfeed, Martha Stewart, and more. In 2020 she launched her first line of yarn, Hue + Me, in collaboration with Lion Brand Yarn. Alexandra graduated from Indiana University with a BA in Fashion Design and an AA in Costume Construction Technology.
Deveter: Alexandra thanks so much for making time to chat with me. We are looking forward to learning more about you and your amazing brand Two of Wands. How would you describe your style? Are there any crafters/artists/designers that you particularly look up to?
Alexandra: I usually describe my style as "chic but playful." I am drawn to fashion-forward designs that feel functional and wearable so that they blend seamlessly with your existing wardrobe and decor. Of course I love to follow trends but I try to limit my inspiration from other designers so I can stay true to my own style.
Deveter: After scrolling through your IG “chic but playful” is a great description of your style! Aside from lightly following trends; what sort of things are inspiring you right now? Where do you look for inspiration?
Alexandra: I love to follow interior design and architecture accounts to get inspiration. Lines and shapes are always bringing me new ideas. And of course, there is no shortage of street style in NYC so I definitely draw inspiration from that as well.
Deveter: New York is hands down one of the best places to be inspired. As a New Yorker what are your must-have craft room essentials?
Alexandra: I had a dedicated studio space in Brooklyn for a few years but found it difficult to make the 45 minute walk/subway schlep there and back every day so now I operate out of my 500 square foot apartment which doesn't leave too much space for anything, haha. A comfy spot to sit and some sort of entertainment - computer or tv - are all I need! Any chance I get I am sitting at a cafe or in the park working so I can get out of the house.
Deveter: I love it. I am a watcher/listener while I crochet too, so I get it. What unexpected benefits have crocheting and knitting brought to your life?
Alexandra: Friends! I have met so many lovely people through this industry.
Deveter: Yes, the community within the crafting world is awesome. I feel like through this interview, I have a new friend! What is your favorite Furls tool?
Alexandra: Streamline Swirl hooks. 6mm and 10mm are my fav sizes!
Deveter: Streamline’s are absolutely beautiful to look at and a pleasure to use. What five words would best describe you?
Alexandra: Hard-working, creative, patient, indulgent, and tired (lol)
Deveter: I can FULLY identify with tired! Finish the sentence … “If I couldn’t crochet or knit , I would … “
Alexandra: Sew, cook, paint, weave, make jewelry .... I have lots of hobbies :)
Deveter: All the handcrafts, love it! What makes your work unique and special? What is the mission of your business?
Alexandra: I blend style and function with simple stitches and techniques to create sophisticated knitwear for the modern maker. My focus is on inspiring others to create current, fashion-forward wardrobes and homes full of effortless staples and essentials. My design process starts with a feeling – a moment in time that I want to capture with a garment or accessory.
Deveter: Love your mission, style and most of all focus. We live in a mass-produced, buy-it-now society. Why should people continue to make things by hand?
Alexandra: I think fast fashion has caused us to lose the value in our clothes. When you make something by hand and understand the process and time involved, you really value the item, treat it differently, and even feel different when wearing it. I also think it's important in today's fast-paced world to have things like yarn crafts in your life to help you slow down. The healthy benefits from knitting and crochet are remarkable and I think everyone can benefit from them!
Deveter: I agree, there are so many health benefits provided by knit and crochet! Here at Furls we envision a world where handcrafts are the antidote to the mental distress cased by the digital age. our beautiful, comfortable and function tools are how we are achieving this goal. What philanthropic crafting organizations if any are you affiliated with?
Alexandra: I worked in the non-profit world for eight years before launching Two of Wands, but it was in natural disaster recovery. I'm a supporter of many causes, but when it comes to crafting specifically, I donate all of my unused stash yarn to Sue Rock Originals. Sue uses knitting and crochet to empower domestic violence survivors to heal from abuse and create a new life by providing handcrafted apparel and teaching them how to make their own. You can read more about the organization and shop their products here.
Deveter: Wow what a great way to responsibly and charitably give away yarn. I love it and will definitely keep Sure Rock Originals in mind when I'm looking to stash bust! Alexandra thank you so much for your time today.
I’m Deveter Brown thanks for reading, now get back to that WIP!
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