Friday, 7 October 2016

DIY Combination Tug and Squeaky Halloween Spider Toy

 

This sneaky little Halloween spider toy combines all the fun of a squeaky soft toy with the longer-lasting stretchy goodness of a woven tug toy.  If the spider body succumbs to the inevitable tyranny of squeaker frenzied doggy bliss, the legs are still plenty of fun on their own. Yeah!  And it's crazy fun - there was a frenzy of dog excitement over this spider toy. To make your own, you will need fleece, complementary thread, stuffing, squeakers (optional) and scissors/sewing tools.  The toy can be fully hand sewn, but is quicker/easier if the majority is machine sewn.  Black fleece is an inedible Dalmatian fur magnet...furry spider legs before it was even off my craft table! Sigh...

  • Cut 16 (4 lots of 4) long narrow strips of leg coloured fleece for your tugs. Length and width are at your discretion to scale the toy for your pet.  
  • LEG 1+2: Gather four strands, tie a knot near one end and then weave using a "box weave" aka "square knot" or "box braid" per the diagram and steps below:

  1. Spread the strips in a cross (+) shape 
  2. Fold the top of the vertical strip towards the bottom
  3. Fold the bottom of the vertical strip towards the top
  4. Fold the right end of the horizontal strip towards the left, passing over then under
  5. Fold the left end of the horizontal strip towards the right, passing over then under
  6. Pull to secure
  • Repeat steps to continue weaving until you start to approach the end of your strands, then tie a large looping knot all the way around to finish the tug and trim to even our the ends, if/as you wish.
  • LEG 3+4: Gather four strands, knot near one end, then weave as above.  When the tug is roughly half length (you can use the starting tug as a gauge), insert half of the strands through the middle of your first tug.  Adjust the alignment so that you are working away from the first tug, and continue to weave as above to complete the leg.
  • LEG 5+6:  Gather four strands, knot near one end, then weave as above.  When the tug is roughly half length, split the strands over/under the middle intersection of your finished legs. Tie a quick cross-over to secure, and continue to weave as above to complete the leg.
  • LEG 7+8: Gather your last four strands, knot near one end, then weave as above.  When the tug is roughly half length, split the strands over/under the middle intersection of your finished legs. Tie a quick cross-over to secure, and continue to weave as above to complete the leg.
  • Cut two identical circles for the spider body, plus one slightly smaller circle for the inner squeaker pocket.  
  • Sew the  smaller circle to the inside of one outer circle.  Stuff and sew closed. This helps keep the squeaker/stuffing contained as the legs move during play, and makes it harder to capture the squeaker.
  • Cut some scraps or small pieces of fleece to make a face (have a little fun with it!) and sew them securely to the outside of your other spider body circle.
  • Position the accent leaf on the front side of one of the main leaf shapes and pin to secure. Using a complimentary coloured thread, sew around the outside edges to secure.
  • Layer your circles right side out (stuffing pocket in).   Sew together a small portion of the bottom (under the mouth) and a slightly larger portion at the top of the circles.  This will help with positioning your legs to the sides of the body.  The rest is all hand sewing - sorry!
  • Slide the legs into the body, four to a side.
  • Sew to close the toy into roughly equal gaps between the legs of spider.  If you wish, you can add a little extra stuffing before closing the final gap.   There is no added value in sewing the body to the legs as the stitching will break when the toy stretches, so skip it let the legs slide.  I opted to carry my blanket stitching along the top surface of the legs (superficial) for easy sewing to avoid knot/restart.

  
If spidey bites the dust, you can remove his fleecy carcass to the toy hospital or rubbish, and play on with the legs until they wear out.  If your dog isn't into squeakers, is too destructive, or you just want to keep it simple, you can easily skip the body and adapt to make this toy as a tug-only.  Softie only?  Check out our cat brother Tiger's matching teenie weenie catnip spider. :) We also have AWESOME Halloween mummy and Frankenstein squeakie softie toys to share, so stay tuned for more!

Remember, toys are for supervised interactive play. Know your dog before giving him or her any new toy. Some dogs would rather eat their toys (whether store bought or handmade), and that's dangerous. Toys are for playing and playtime is safer (and more fun!) with you involved.  You can read more about dog toy safety here.

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