I’m Alexandra Tavel and I design knitwear in New York City. I sell finished pieces and patterns, and my shop is called Two of Wands Shop.
I grew up in a tiny town called Loveland, Ohio and I’ve been making things for as long as I can remember. My mom is an artist; she taught me the joy of creating things with your own two hands. Be it painting, sewing, sculpting, jewelry making, or knitting, there was never a lack of projects going on in our house! After getting degrees in fashion design and costume construction technology at Indiana University, I moved to NYC to see where it would lead me. I worked in the non-profit world for about eight years before deciding to focus on my Etsy shop full time, and since then, I’ve been designing and creating non-stop.
I’m lucky to have traveled all over the world, and I draw inspiration from the places I’ve visited and the local artisans I’ve met. One key moment (and the inspiration for my shop name) came in 2013, when I climbed to the top of Mount Kilimanjaro. Upon reaching the other side, I met a woman who offered to read my tarot cards. When the Two of Wands was drawn, my future was set in motion – this card is focused on taking the path of discovery and creativity, taking your ideas and desires and turning them into a solid plan for success. To me, the name represents energy, spirituality, inspiration, creativity, ambition and expansion.
I design my pieces the same way I shop. For me, a piece of clothing can really transport you to a specific place and time. When I am about to create a collection, I start with the feeling I want to experience and use that to inspire each design. Whether it comes from the location I see myself wearing the piece, the function it will serve, or the mood it will create, everything I make has a story behind it. Another goal of mine is to design patterns that are fashion-forward and approachable enough for most beginners or intermediate knitters and crocheters to make. I hope my designs will inspire those who only know how to knit a scarf to try something just a bit more daring and expand their skills – there are so many things you can make if you only know how to knit a rectangle!
Etsy has given me the opportunity to reach hundreds of thousands of people around the world in the short time I’ve been a seller, and I’m so grateful for that. It’s so rewarding to be able to communicate with my customers directly and have a personal connection with them, and it’s incredible to be part of a community that fosters handmade items. I love to see the amazing things that come out of people’s brains! I’m so thrilled to be chosen as a Featured Shop and be able to share my experience with other sellers and customers.
When I think about others making and using my patterns and designs, I feel very honored. I cherish all the handmade things I’ve purchased over the years because they hold a certain power and energy from the maker. I love that I now get to spread my pieces out into the world and take part in someone else’s experience. I’m excited to continue producing knitwear for others to enjoy, and I’m even more inspired to create patterns so that others can share in the thrill of making something special for themselves or a loved one. Even if (especially if) the final result isn’t perfect, it has so much more meaning than something you bought off a shelf or opened from a box.
All photographs by Two of Wands Shop.