Two of Wands

The Making of a Knitwear Collection

Patterns, FW2016, InspirationAlexandra Tavel2 Comments

Another collection has been added to the Two of Wands books and with the addition of this blog to my site I thought it would be fun to post about the inspiration behind the collection and the design process I went through while creating it.

My starting point when designing is always to decide the mood and place in time where I envision the items being worn. As a shopper I'm always looking for items that evoke a certain feeling and transport me to another place. I am a sucker for buying makeup based solely on the name of the color. Flowy tops conjure up daydreams of exotic islands and the breeze from the waves making the fabric dance. A stylish blazer instantly makes you feel confident and commanding. And when it comes to this collection, there were a few different themes and moods from which I drew inspiration: cozy chic European ski towns, rocky New England fishing villages, and the patterns and textiles of artisans in South America. 

In order to keep the overall aesthetic cohesive, I opted to use one type of yarn and chose 11 colors (mostly neutrals) for the entire collection. I went with Lion Brand Wool-Ease Thick & Quick, which is a super bulky weight yarn that I've been using for years and love dearly. It is a wonderful squishy soft wool/acrylic blend, which lends benefits from both fiber types - the wool helps regulate body temperature and keeps you warm, while the acrylic adds softness and drape. The best part is that the fiber blend is machine washable so all of the pieces in the collection can be thrown in the washer/dryer without worry of any shrinkage. This yarn is also widely available in craft stores around the US, so I knew it would be easy for my domestic pattern customers to find when making their own Two of Wands items. Internationally you can find Lion Brand yarns on websites like loveknitting.com and deramores.com.

Once I'd chosen the yarn and colors, I broke everything down into mini-collections that would compliment each other. For example, I designed the Alpine Cable Pullover based on inspiration from the sophisticated European ski town getaway concept, and then I followed that up with the Après-Ski Cable Infinity Scarf and the Chalet Cable Toque

Designs like the Rocky Coast Cowl, Shoreline Fingerless Gloves, Cousteau Cap, and Portsmouth Striped Sweater were all designed to be a bit more androgynous, simple, and rugged and were inspired by the cold New England coast. 

The Cuzco Fringe Scarf and Wanderlust Ruana are based on beautiful traditional textiles I came across while traveling in South America during my days in the non-profit world.

When I am designing, I am conscious of two types of customers - those who are purchasing finished pieces as well as those who will be making their own items using my patterns. I like to offer a well-rounded collection with a variety of items at different price points for the finished piece customers so they can choose from big ticket items like sweaters or smaller accessories like a hat. For my pattern buyers, it's important to me to offer designs for both beginners and more advanced knitters and crocheters so that whatever your skill level you're able to take on a new project. 

The biggest news about this collection is that I've added some menswear and unisex pieces to the arsenal, and I am so excited to have finally branched out into this new category. I've been wanting to do a men's collection (and a home collection) for ages and I finally went for it this season. I love making things for my boyfriend and wanted to offer some patterns for others to be able to work up for the dudes in their lives as well. The best part is that most of these pieces are unisex so you can always steal them for yourself too ;)

Whether you're a maker or someone who appreciates the magic in handmade knitwear, I hope you enjoy this thoughtful collection!

*When I launched this new collection I decided to retire all of my previous finished pieces. Patterns for all Two of Wands designs, past and present, will always be available but as styles change and yarn types and colors get discontinued and are no longer available, I will only be offering only my current designs as finished pieces from now on. Anyone interested in a finished piece of a past design is welcome to place a custom order and I will do my best to source the original yarn if possible.