Continuing my New York City roots exploration and shining a spotlight on other makers & designers, I want to showcase and introduce you to Katrina Walser of Oliphant Kat. What can I say about this lovely gal? Well… Sometimes in this fiber world things just come together so perfectly and seemingly serendipitous that it is kind of amazing. This collaboration is one of those times.
I first “met” Kat through social media on Instagram when we crossed paths in admiring each other’s work. In 2018, when I went to my first Vogue Knitting Live, I had the wonderful opportunity to meet Kat in real life and quickly fell in love with this ray of light in the fiber world. Her smile lit the place up! Our friendship grew and she came to celebrate my birthday at a special NYC knit night later that year. When I started to think of makers and designers I wanted to feature in my New York City series, I knew Kat was on the list. I was so excited when she said yes!
Just at the time we were speaking of this collaboration, Kat was getting ready to share the big news: she was pregnant with her first child! OMG so exciting!! So of course I was more than thrilled when she wanted to create a design that was inspired by this amazing experience and blessing!
As Kat tells us; “When I was pregnant with my first child, all I wanted to make were cute baby knits. But then I realised soon after that I wanted to make something for myself, too. My daughter was a Winter baby, so a shawl seemed to be the best bet. I went onto Ravelry to see if I could find a shawl that could double as a nursing cover up, but the options were limited. So the Emilia Nursing Shawl was born!”
I love how Kat took her affection for shawls to the next level and created such a beautiful piece. In keeping with our New York City vibes - she chose to use yarn from NYC dyer, Asylum Fibers - who is well known in the Stitch & Hustle realm.
The style and design of this shawl are fun to work up and not what you may expect from a “nursing shawl”. Kat explains; “I discovered that I loved shawls relatively late in my knitting life, and as interesting as you can get with the various shaping I actually like rectangular ones the best. I was also going for size (the bigger the better), which resulted in the lacy pattern that the shawl uses. While lace may seem like a strange choice for something that’s meant to be giving you and your child privacy, the shawl is big enough that it’ll wrap around a couple of times so the holes aren’t a problem. “
And what I love most about this design, as does Kat, is that of course, you can use the shawl just on its own - no baby is actually required! So truly it is a shawl for everyone!