It's still minus temperatures here in North Lincolnshire (-18 at about 6pm. Brr! But this morning it's a positivly toasty -4). Still, it's been a fortnight since we last had any refuse collections or post. Or even gritters (the only reason the roads are clear is a local farmer bodging together a makeshift plough out of a tractor & trundling around the village). It's enough to make a fox wonder what her council tax is being used on.
Okay, enough grumbling about the weather. I promised kitty toys!
These are really simple, and surprisingly quick to make. You can knit them in any colour you like, though cats respond to purple, blue, green & yellow (other colours they see as shades of grey). You can use pretty much any scraps of DK wool you have lying around. Aside from wool, and a 4mm crochet hook, all you need is a pair of scissors & maybe a wool needle.
Spider: Chain 4 & join to make a loop. Make 16 htr (hdc in the US) into the centre of the loop. It's a snug fit, but it will work! slip stitch into the first htr to form a circle. Chain 1, then dc (sc) into each of the 16 stitches. Slip stitch into the first stitch to make 16, then repeat (as in chain 1, then dc (sc) into each stitch etc). Chain 10 from that point where you did your last slip stitch, then dc (sc) your way back down the chain (you'll need to insert your crochet hook into the 3rd chain from the hook). Slip stitch into the next stitch on the left. Woo-hoo, you've made a leg! Only 7 more to go! Slip stitch into the next stitch on your left, and repeat the process of chaining & dc (sc) -ing your way back. See, the 16 stitches in the original circle get made into 8 legs. Nifty!
The legs are the slowest part, because it's all crocheting into a chain (the most annoying part of crochet. sorry!).
Once that's done, you have two options. You can stuff your little spider with a mixture of kapok & catnip, or you can leave it open. If you stuff it, close up the base with a htr (hdc) between each leg & pull tight (or using any method you prefer). Snip your yarn & weave in any loose bits. Finally, make a chain of suitable length (if your cat likes to get scratchy, make a long one!), and tie it to the top of your spider.
Octopus: The octopus is almost identical to the spider. The only difference is the body length (with the spider, it's two rows of dc (sc) to make the body, with the Octopus, it's 7 rows) and the leg length (with the spider it's a chain of 10, with the octopus a chain of 15). A bit of felt & sewing and you can have yourself a little bat-winged Cthulhu too!
Warning. No guarantee of cat participation.