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The Candles

Knitting
September 2011
Worsted / 10 ply (9 wpi) ?
20 stitches and 24 rows = 4 inches in Stockinette stitch
US 7 - 4.5 mm
1700 - 3300 yards (1554 - 3018 m)
32.5 to 54.25 inch bust
This pattern is available for free.

All the yard-arms were tipped with a palid fire; and touched at each tri-pointed lightning-rod-end with three tapering white flames, each of the three tall masts was silently burning in that sulphurous air, like three gigantic wax tapers before an altar.

Herman Melville, Moby-Dick, Chapter CXIX, “The Candles”

Inspired by the imagery of St. Elmo’s fire (also known as the corpusants), an electrical event in the atmosphere during a thunderstorm, striking the Pequod as she closes in on the white whale, this long cardigan evokes the colors of the sea and the pale fire alighting on the masts.

The double-breasted shape evokes a sailor’s “monkey jacket”; however, I took the liberty of lengthening the traditional silhouette in light of second-mate Stubb’s evaluation of the best outerwear for wet weather:

“They laugh at long-togs, so, Flask; but seems to me, a long tailed coat ought always to be worn in all storms afloat. The tails tapering down that way, serve to carry off the water, d’ye see.” (Chapter CXXI, “Midnight—The Forecastle Bulwarks”)

The cardigan is worked in the round in one piece from the bottom up. The waist shaping of this cardigan is accomplished through stranded knitting. The naturally tighter fabric created by stranded knitting pulls in the fabric at the waist, creating a smaller circumference without changing the number of stitches. The sleeves and body are joined at the yoke. The front is then steeked, and the buttonbands are picked up and knit along the steek edges.