From my husband's high school buddy, John Anderson: This painting is of my Swedish grandfather, Anders Anderson. He grew up in the province of Skane in Southern Sweden. At the age of 16, Anders went to sea, but after three years of sailing all over the world, he jumped ship in Maine. He joined the commercial sailing fleet out of Stonington and eventually became a Captain. One day his vessel was anchored in the thick fog near Mark Island Light near Stonington. He rowed his dory over to the light and struck up a conversation with the light keeper's family, the Gilleys. He was immediately drawn to Annie and became a frequent visitor, but Annie was too young to marry so Anders courted Annie for seven years before they finally married.
As far as we know, this scarf pattern originates with Maine island lighthouse keeper's wives in the 1800's. It has been handed down in my family for three generations. It was taught to my grandmother Annie Gilley, who grew up in lighthouses, by her mother. Annie in turn taught my aunt, who knit this for me. It may go back further into Maine's past: it would be interesting to know if this pattern was common and is known to knitting historians or if it is just a family pattern to keep the lighthouse keeper warm around the neck! In any event, after Annie married Capt. Anders Anderson in 1903, she knitted these for her husband to wear on his sailing voyages. My Aunt Louise revived her knitting of these scarfs after her retirement to Florida, where she knitted scarfs, mittens and watch caps which she donated to the local seaman's mission, as a way of honoring her father's memory. She knitted a cap and two of the scarves for me in 1999. She told me she always knitted them either green or blue because those were the colors of her father's ocean. She died in 2002 at the age of 93, still sharp as a tack and knitting until the last year of her life.