Oryx by Jennifer Dassau


December 2013
Fingering (14 wpi) ?
20 stitches and 28 rows = 4 inches
in stockinette
US 5 - 3.75 mm
850 - 1775 yards (777 - 1623 m)
38 (40, 42.75, 45.5, 47.5, 50.5, 54.5, 59.25, 64)”
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Easy to slip on over tactical gear, a mesh bralette, or your everyday outfit, Oryx is a relaxed-fit tank top with button details, a fitted hem at the high hip, and volume at the bust and sides. Textural purl stripes on the stockinette stitch body mimic pieced fabric, while the edges are finished with practical garter stitch. Knit in a strong and lustrous silk blend yarn, Oryx suits any pre- or post-apocalyptic environment.

Construction: Oryx is cast on at the hem and worked in the round until divided for front and back at the armscye; the upper body and straps are then worked back and forth. The body is knit in stockinette stitch with a purl stripe every tenth row; once the front and back are divided, a 3 stitch garter selvage is worked at the armhole and neck edges to the ends of the shoulder straps.

Techniques & Skills Used: longtail CO, backwards loop CO, knit/purl, increasing/decreasing, working in the round.

Size: 38 (40, 42.75, 45.5, 47.5, 50.5, 54.5, 59.25, 64)” bust. Oryx is meant to be close fitting at the hem and more roomy at the chest, with extra fabric at each side; for a good fit, choose a size based on high hip measurement, and with several inches of positive ease at the bust. Sample shown in second size, worn with 6” positive ease at bust and 1” negative ease at high hip.

Yarn: Blue Moon Fiber Arts Marine Silk Fingering (51% silk, 29% merino, 20% Sea Cell rayon; 487 yards/445m/100g), shown in Deep Unrelenting Grey; 2 (2, 2, 3, 3, 3, 3, 4, 4) skeins, or 850 (900, 974, 1050, 1150, 1275, 1450, 1600, 1775) yards of silk or rayon blend fingering weight yarn.

Other Materials: US 5 (3.75mm) 24” circular needle; Stitch markers (2); Stitch holder; 7/8” shank buttons (2); matching sewing thread and needle. Yarn needle.

Gauge: 20 st and 28 rows/4” in stockinette stitch; 20 st and 40 rows/4” in garter stitch, measured after blocking and with garment hanging as when worn. The silk and rayon which create the beautiful weighty drape also cause the row gauge to be larger when hanging than when laid flat.

Originally published in Doomsday Knits: Projects for the Apocalypse and After, the individual Oryx pattern is now available on Ravelry and Payhip as an indie design pdf in my usual format and style. Here’s a bit about my inspiration for this fun project:
Oryx is a mysterious female character who appears mostly as a haunting memory to the protagonist and survivor of biological pandemic in Margaret Atwood’s Oryx & Crake. Who was she in the past? Who were any of us – and does it matter, since much of humankind and all of human society no longer exists? The story inspired me to design a garment that would be useful regardless of the environment in which one might find oneself. Fitting snugly at the high hip, the tank increases in a semi-V shape to the bust, yet remains anchored close to the shoulders with sturdy buttoned straps. Choosing a size with plenty of ease at the bust ensures that there’s room for layering over that bralette into which you’ve tucked your essential tactical gear, or just over your underpinning of choice. The fitted hem won’t flap or snag to distract your pursuer, throw off your aim or clutter your sleek silhouette. And the slight volume on top still fits easily beneath the outer layer you might need in the desertscape or the nuclear winter. I envisioned a few possible ways one might style such a useful piece after the apocalypse.

Thank you to Alex Tinsley and Cooperative Press!