FO: dragon scarf


I wasn’t kidding the other day when I said I was trying to be more focused with the number of projects I had going at once. While there’s no chance I’ll become a one-project knitter, I am going to try to be more deliberate and committed about what I knit. I like the process, but I definitely enjoy the product too. Since this one is a gift, there wasn’t anything to think about changing. I just knit, and that was very freeing.
pattern dragon scarf kit by morehouse merino in Huff (red)
yarn morehouse merino 3-strand in cardinal — 1.5 hanks
needles knitpicks options 4 mm / US# 6 (not the best choice — read below)
mods slipped the first stitch of each row to make a neater edge.
I love the finished object. The yarn is super-drapey and soft.
But, I didn’t like knitting this yarn. 3-strand yarn is basically three unspun plies of yarn just placed next to each other. If they’re plied together at all it’s very minimally. It’s like knitting with three thin strands of roving.
While I think the yarn would be splitty regardless of needle choice, the very pointy knitpicks options that I used just exasperated it. But, I couldn’t locate another 4 mm needle (yeah, I need to organize the needle storage a bit) so I knit on with the knitpicks options.
Add to that the fact that I had to pull VM out of practically every row of knitting, and it made for a not so fun knitting experience.
The other issue I had with this kit is that they don’t list a row gauge — just a finished scarf measurement. The instructions are explicit (no “knit until scarf measures X”) so there’s no obvious place to adjust for length. After I bound off, the scarf measured 52″, but the finished length was supposed to be 62″. I soaked it and wet blocked it and wouldn’t you know, it came out to be exactly 62″. It worked out in the end, but it would have been nice to know what I was aiming for while I was knitting.
I mentioned that I thought there was an error in the pattern. After reading it several times I’ve determined that there isn’t an error, but the directions are written very strangely. Or, at minimum, the didn’t make sense to me initially. While I ended up doing the same thing they instructed, at first I thought I was doing something different. I just did what seemed to make sense given that I knew I was trying to make one of the spikes going up the dragon’s back.
I have a second kit in green to make a miniature version for my nephew, so I’ll be knitting with this yarn one more time. After that, if anyone wants a dragon scarf, I’ll use the pattern but sub the yarn. No more morehouse 3-strand for me.
Given the unspun quality of the yarn, I’m concerned about durability. Will it pill? Will it hold up to a good amount of use? It feels sturdy but I’m not convinced. I’ll have to check in with my sister-in-law to see how it holds up over time, and look for a follow-up post at the end of the season.
I haven’t read much (any?) negative posts about morehouse, and I’m left wondering if my experience is unusual. It’s not often that I complain about a project this much, but I really wasn’t impressed. If any of you have had a contrary experience feel free to share — I’d love to hear that I’m wrong. Did I miss something? Do you think I have unfair expectations?

39 thoughts on “FO: dragon scarf

  1. I just started my Morehouse Farms “Shark Mitts” kit yesterday. It uses the same yarn. I had occasion to frog about half a mitten and start over and also had some concerns, especially about pilling. Because there was some. I figure that these are kid mittens and will probably become somewhat felted just from use, so the pills should not matter (much) — and I hope I’m right. With a scarf, though… The yarn is SUPER soft — nice for a scarf — and I hope it holds up because it looks FANTASTIC.

  2. I bought a kit for a layette outfit from Morehouse years ago and I could never get it to work. The yarn included was nowhere near the gauge called for in the pattern and the pattern itself was oddly written. I was a newbie then so I didn’t really know how to work the math. I e-mailed them for assistance and they said I must be doing something wrong and could I send a picture of my swatch. That seemed ridiculous to me and I gave up. The damn kit has been sitting in my stash for all this time.
    I’ve never bought anything from them again.

  3. i’m working on the alligator scarf now and i also thought that there was a mistake in the pattern. I knit and frogged the nose about 6 times thinking I had done something wrong. I eventually gave up and just trusted the directions. it seems to have worked out fine now! I also think that the directions are written in a very odd way. you are not alone!

  4. the dragon looks great! i made the alligator and i had the same problem with the length. way shorter than what the pattern said, although i haven’t given it a bath yet, so maybe that will get the extra 10 inches (seems hard to believe). the yarn wasn’t terrible, but it was super sticky on wooden needles and it certainly had tons of VM in it.

  5. Very cute! I like the red scarf on the black and white background, too.
    I’ve enjoyed knitting with the yarn, because I like the springy fabric that it makes. I’ve also been using Addis, which don’t give me any problems with splitting.
    I found some Glycerin, so I’ll probably try that trick with my Morehouse vest once I get done!

  6. I knit about 12 spikes worth on size 6’s and decided it was too small/tight. Frogged and worked the whole thing on 8’s (Harmony’s). I have almost 1 whole skein left and, yes, it is definitely much smaller than expected. I have not bound off because I was thinking of frogging again, going up to a 9, and maybe ‘doing the math’ and enlarging the pattern a bit.
    As for the yarn, it was my first experience with Morehouse but I pretty much agree with your impressions. I may knit the pattern again but use different yarn…
    (I did not have much trouble with the needles splitting the yarn, but I apparently pick up my stitches in such a way that I rarely have trouble, even with yarns known for splitting!)

  7. I love the scarf, and I love your photos! I think it might be worth letting the company know your problems with the pattern; perhaps they can modify it and save others a lot of grief.

  8. I knit their snake scarf last fall for the neph and I found the instructions to be a little odd. Multiple read throughs sorted it out, but it was kind of non-logical, as I recall.
    Looks great – I love that kit, but didn’t love the yarn – single ply – all that much, so never been tempted.

  9. Man, that is CUTE. It’s almost worth picking out the crap from the yarn to get that result. I wish that I was 10 years old so I could rock an alligator around my neck…

  10. It is so cute! But I have to agree with you about Morehouse patterns. They are frequently a bit wonky. I haven’t had much problem with the yarn splitting though. It might just be the needles or the way you twist the yarn when you knit. I do find that it is so lofty it is a bit weird to work with though.

  11. I don’t think you have unfair expectations at all. I looked at some morehouse yarn in a shop the other day and I thought the 3- “ply” was a little loose. While the finished product is cute, it’s probably best that it won’t be in your closet as a constant reminder of your frustrations working with the yarn!

  12. That really is stinkin’ cute. A fun little book that helps use up stash (which I struggle with) is Kath Dalmeny’s “World of Knitted Toys.” Maybe you’ve seen it. I did the koala bear a while back as a gift and almost couldn’t stand to give it away!

  13. I used the Morehouse Merino Bulky for the Berkshire Pullover for my hubby last year (a rare instance of using the suggested yarn in a pattern) and while I didn’t notice too much in the way of splitting – probably because I was using bamboo needles – seaming was impossible because it was so loosely spun, and it was a bit more VMy than I like for the price, but then again, I don’t mind VM too much. And I knit a pair of mittens in the bulky yarn, which are definitely pilling, so I don’t hold out much hope for hubby’s sweater (he’s only worn it twice because it’s almost too warm for him, so it hasn’t had the chance to wear against itself yet). Would I use the yarn again? Yeah, but only on something small-scale like mittens or a hat.

  14. I think I left a comment previously about your 3-strand looking sturdier than the stuff I got in a mitten kit. I hated the yarn and said as much on Ravelry and my blog as as you have said, it is like knitting w/ 3 thin pieces of roving. Since I was working on DPNs and didn’t want ladders, I found it difficult to tighten up the stitches between the needles without the yarn snapping.
    I suspect that these mittens are going to felt pretty quickly.
    I also had the same problem with the pattern instructions. I cast on for the large size of mitten so that the wearer might get to use them the whole year (and maybe part of next – they’re baby sized), but the finished product measured a small! I ripped and re-knit on much larger needles.

  15. I have bought several morehouse kits and have been consistently disappointed in the quality of the yarn and the clarity of the patterns. There is a ton of junk in the yarn that needs to be picked out, and the single ply varieties are fragile to the point of breaking when gently pulled to even tension at the end of a row. I normally knit fairly true to the posted gauge for most patterns, but for the morehouse patterns (a hat, mittens, and a shawl), I had to go up by three needle sizes to get gauge. After my first disaster (a shawl in single-ply lace weight), I kept returning because the patterns seemed so cute and the yarn such nice colorways. I ended up frogging the hat and mittens and using the yarn in other patterns. Even though that dragon scarf pattern is adorable, I believe I’ve finally learned my lesson. Thanks for the opportunity to vent.

  16. After admiring your FO, I visited the Morehouse website and ordered a dragon kit in green. It arrived in two days (would have been sooner but for the Thanksgiving holiday). I had to drop every other project and start the dragon immediately. I found the yarn to be soft and rather “roving”-like but not difficult to knit with (I am using antique Susan Bates dpns in recommended size and getting gauge–usually I am a loose knitter). Once I read through the directions, they made sense and I love the design. My only wish is that there would be a schematic drawing in additon to the color photo. I am picking out VM as well but the yarn smells and feels very nice over all. As far as pilling goes, I have had no problems with little fuzzy rings forming around my working yarn (unlike some other yarns I have knitted) so I think that pilling will not be a problem. Will I order from MH again? Most definitely.

  17. I know it’s been a while since you knit this, but i’m hoping you can offer some advice. I’ve tried to make the spikes three times, but each time I’ve bound off the stitches for the first spike, i’m left with a hole in the knitting. I’ve tried it every which way I can think of, but I can’t get rid of that hole. If you can offer any suggestions, i’d be most grateful! thanks so much.

  18. I also knitted the Dragon Scarf for one of my teenagers for Christmas.
    After knitting with the kit yarn for a short time, I decided to use a larger needle because the scarf was too firm for my taste. While frogging, the yarn pulled apart so I then substituted a better spun yarn, completed the scarf (I agree! The instructions are convolutedly written!)and stashed the kit yarn in my closet. Maybe I’ll re-spin it someday. I’ll certainly never buy another skein from Morehouse!

  19. I wanted to get this kit to make for my kids. Their school mascot is a dragon and it just seemed so cute, but I am hesitant to buy the kit. One reason is because our school colors are maroon and white and the other reason is everyone seems to be saying its not a good pattern, hard to figure out and the Morehouse yarn is not a good yarn. Plus I am a very new knitter and do better with easy to read patterns right now. So any suggestions on getting the pattern but not the yarn? I have written to Morehouse but to no avail, no response.

  20. Everything about Morehouse is wonky, as one person said here. They are a strange bunch. Customer satisfaction is not their thing. I think they have been too long with the sheep.

  21. I was just drooling over this! But I’m a novice knitter, so I wonder if I’m up to doing this, and if the pattern is written wonky….Plus we just inherited my grandmother’s yarn & fabric stash, so I need yarn like I need a hole in my head. We gave quite a bit away to the church ladies who knit/crochet for charity, but so much is still left. Thanks for sharing your tale. Also – the blue St. Briget shown earlier in your blog looked gorgeous!

  22. I LOVE this scarf and would love to make it up but a) the company is in the states and b) it sounds like the pattern was a nightmare…
    Would you be able to send the pattern to the UK as a PDF? The company seem to be a bit incommunicado and I can’t get the book on Amazon.

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