Friday, 17 March 2017

Tug of Tugs! DIY Double Woven Fleece Dog Tug Toy

A tug toy woven out of tug toys?  Oh yes we did!  Why? Simply because someone asked us if we could try to make one! No promises, but if you have a doggone crazy idea that you'd like us to try, don't be shy!  Since this toy was slotting into our schedule on St. Patrick's Day, I went with a wild rainbow of colours, adding in white to make the extra eighth colour for the multi-coloured mix. This also helps you to see what's what in the how-to photos below.



The pictured toy is made using four long slender spiral tugs (circle twist or twisted box knot) double woven (basic box knot) using the tugs in lieu of strands to make a big heavy-duty rainbow riot tug.  In terms of pros for the toy experiment, the tug is very solid and heavily textured. In obvious cons, it is five times the materials and weaving effort of a basic tug. The big solid tug is relatively tough for playtime fun, but lacks the wiggle squiggle flexibility and stretch of the single tugs.  Variety! The spice of dog toy life! :)


To make your own double woven fleece tug toy, you will need sixteen long strands of fleece (four per single tug).  I used eight colours, as shown, with two strands of each colour. These should be relatively narrow strands as it's important that you make your tugs sturdy but slender so that you can weave them into a decent width/length tug the second stage of the double weave. 
  • Cut fleece to create sixteen strands of fleece. See above ref size tips. You can scale the length and width to suit your materials and your pet.  
  • Separate your strands into four groups of four.
  • Starting with one group of four, loosely (it will be undone later) tie a knot near one end of your strands. Arrange to prepare for weaving into verticals (up/down) and horizontals (left/right upper, left/right lower). Weave into a tug using your preferred method. Do not tie the working end when finished.
Tip: I opted for the spirals for the inside strands since their rounded form would be easier to double weave in the next step than a square tug. I used a twisted box knot to create my spirals, but you can use a circle twist for a similar effect. See the links for detailed instructions, photos, and diagrams for each method if needed.
  • Repeat the process above for each group of four to weave all four singe tugs. 
  • Untie the temporary knot from the starting ends of your single tugs.
Tip: All of these strands are thick and awkward to join using our usual loop knot. You can join them however you wish, but I opted to tie them together into a side-by-side ring at the start (see below) and used the same method to tie off the other end at completion.
  • Pair into two set of two tugs, position them side-by-side, and tie together two neighbouring strands from each tug. Position the joined pairs together and tie the other two strands from each tug with its new neighbour. You can tie additional knots on completion, if/as you wish.
  • Flip knotted side down. 
  • Arrange to prepare for weaving into verticals (up/down) and horizontals (left/right upper, left/right lower). Weave into a tug-of-tugs using your preferred method, taking care to ensure you weave the tug strands together evenly and tightly - they need a little more TLC (and elbow grease) for positioning and tightening than a simple fleece strand.
Tip: I opted for a basic square box knot weave to keep it as simple as possible for the bulky tug-of-tugs double weave. If you prefer,  you can go rounded with a twisted box knot or a circle twist. See the links for detailed instructions, photos, and diagrams for each method if needed.
  • As you approach the end of the woven part of your tug strands to the loose working ends, prepare to tie off. If your tug strands are uneven length, you can untie a little to even things out, if/as you wish.
  • Tie the ends to secure using the method of your choice. For consistency and even aesthetics in the finished tug, I used the same method of tying together neighboring strands as I did at the starting end (as detailed above).
  • Trim excess if/as you wish, and enjoy!

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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