I'm a big fan of knots and rope-work in general, so when we recently got a new kitten in the house I couldn't help but make her some toys. It just so happens that when you make a handheld toy with dangly parts (which as we all know cats *loooove*) it also ends up being a nice little flog (for you...knotty...folks :)
If you are already familiar with knots, braiding, and rope crafts this is a fun and relatively quick project.
If you are not familiar but interested in learning, this will definitely help you along as it uses two very useful braids that can be used for many other projects.
I will try to approach this in a way that even absolute beginners should have no problem!
Please comment and rate! I would appreciate any feedback! Questions welcome! (It was trickier than I thought to explain the knotwork!)
Step 1: Supplies
- or other tool suitable for cutting rope
- or other flame source
- Totally up to you, I used two colors of polyester rope. Anything with a decent thickness will be fine (1/4" and up)
- For beginners I would recommend two colors, as it makes it easier to keep track during braiding. Plus it looks nice :)
*Before we begin, if common sense is used there is very little risk for injury during this project. However, keep in mind when searing the ends of synthetic rope to prevent fraying the tip will be *very* hot and the molten plastic will stick to your skin and can cause a blistering burn. If desired, keep a cup of water handy to dip the seared tip in to cool it immediately.
Step 2: Braiding the Handle (square Sinnet Knots)
*Note: none of these lengths are written in stone, you can make yours as long or short as you like, but I'll list the lengths I used.
- Cut two 6' lengths of rope (if using two colors, one length of each)
- If using synthetic rope, sear the ends to prevent frays. If using cotton rope, use tape or glue.
-Find the middle of each length and bring the middle points together, forming a "X" (see photo 1)
Please see photos to continue the braid...
Step 3: Spirals (a Lesson in Half Hitches)
After the handle is completed, you should have four strands dangling around. You could leave it like this, but I felt they needed a little weight at the ends, plus a little flair...
To make the nifty spiraled parts, we'll need some separate lengths of rope. I used lengths that were from my hand to my shoulder, so I guess something like 2 1/2'. Since I worked with two colors, I chose alternating colors for the spirals.
Essentially it's just a series of half hitches.
Please see photos to continue the spiral knots
Step 4: Finished! Time to Play!
Once you have finished tying and positioning your spirals, and all the loose ends have been snipped and sealed, you're good to go!
If you used the same lengths as me, your finished piece should look something like the photo...
Check out the other photos to see detail shots of the different parts, and the grand introduction of kitty to the interwebs!
Our kitten absolutely *loves* this thing, I hope yours does to!
I'd love to hear how yours turns out! Please comment! Questions are welcomed!
Square sinnet knots (which we used for our handle) are great for all sorts of projects for children or adults. Also, once you are comfortable with the "squared" version shown here, there is an alternate way that renders a rounded handle (round sinnet) with the colors spiraling. If anyone is interested I'll post additional instructions for that :)
Half hitching is extremely useful both as an aesthetically pleasing technique in crafts and a practical knot for around the home, camping, or securing loads.