Fresh new fun with a fresh new weave! This eight strand fleece tug toy is a easy step up for weavers from our standard six strand twisted double spiral tug toy. This patterns includes a third set of horizontals, creating a subtle corkscrew effect as the colours spiral along the length of the tug. It’s a cute way to create with colour, include additional strands for a sturdier tug, and also adds a little extra texture to the spirals. Ready to experiment? Let’s take a look at how to weave a corkscrew spiral dog tug toy!
Rewind to Humphrey's Holiday Fun
Remember the tug toys making a cameo appearance in our post about Humphrey’s DIY Christmas stocking? Well, this is one of them, and it’s jazzy colours coordinate with his sock. Haha! As fate would have it, I didn’t get to take our usual posed blog post photos with the finished corkscrew tug or the super spiral tug (coming soon). Due to a family emergency with one of our neighbours, we had a furfriend guest for the holidays. This corkscrew tug was straight into their holiday play mix, and we gave her the super spiral as a Christmas gift to take home. Zero objections from Humphrey to swapping modelling duty for playtime with his best girl!
Spiral Tug Toys
Woah there, tug toy adventurers. If you’re just starting out, you might like to start with a simple weave and work your way up. Don’t worry, it’s pretty easy once you get the hang of things. You’ll be ready to double up for a twisted double spiral or stack big on this corkscrew tug toy in no time. All of our spiral tugs use the same corner-to-corner (diagional) weaving method, just with different numbers of pairs moving in each woven layer of the tug. It’s easier to keep track of what’s moving where with a simple four-strand spiral tug while you learn the weave than diving straight into a more complex combo, like this corkscrew pattern.
Spiraling in a Corkscrew Pattern
The corkscrew weave starts with eight strands (four sets of two). Like a simple spiral, it has two paired verticals, but the corkscrew tug has three sets of paired horizontals. Since the horizontals all share the same verticals, the woven spirals conjoin and twist around each other as the tug is knotted, creating the corkscrew appearance.
In a six-strand double spiral, the spirals of colour turn side-by-side along the length of the tug. Here, we’re weaving with another colour in between them. The middle horizonals (white in my tug) come out sandwiched between the other colours as they twist along the length of the tug, creating the corkscrew effect. It might sound a bit tricky at first, but the tug just shapes itself like magic as long as you follow the weaving pattern consistently. Here’s how to make it!
Weaving a DIY Corkscrew Spiral Dog Tug Toy
Preparing the Materials
To make a similar corkscrew spiral dog tug toy, you will need:
- Polar fleece (or alternate fabric), recommended use of four different colours
To weave a twisted double spiral dog tug toy as shown, clean fabric is cut into 8 long narrow strips. You can scale the toy to suit your dog and your materials by altering the width and/or length of the fleece strips. I’ve made many different shapes and sizes over the years. Fortunately, when making a tug with fleece there is also no need to be too fussy about straight lines when cutting. Yay!
For the true appearance of the corkscrew to really pop, colour and contrast is important. The eight strands need to be in four pairs of different colours: two verticals (will appear in both spirals) and three sets of two horizontals. The horizontals (blue, white, and grey in my example tug toy) are all the same length, but the verticals (red in my example) should be a little longer. Since they’re weaving through multiple strands in each layer, you’ll use up their length quicker. Mine are roughly one and a half times that length. All strands are equal width.
Colour Combinations and Options
Your top and bottom sets of horizontals will be dominant in the finished corkscrew tug. See how there appears to be a bumpy spiral of blue with red and a bumpy spiral of grey with red wrapping around a white spacer in the finished tug toy photo above? Keep that in mind when picking your colour combinations and positions. I nicknamed this one the toothpaste tug because of its colours. Haha!
Want a different look? Don’t have four different colours of fleece to choose from? With three colours, you could use the same colour for the top and bottom sets of horizontals to create matching spirals around the middle colour.. With two colours, you could use the same combo for the verticals and top and bottom horizontals to single colour bumps spiralling the middle. Or you could use the same colour for the verticals and middle horizontals (alternating colours). And again, the dogs won’t be juding on looks. Well, at least not as far as we know!
Weaving the Twisted Double Spiral Tug Toy
Preparing the strands for weaving:
- Tie a starting end knot near one end of your strands. I used a simple overhand knot, but if you’d like a less bulky know for so many strands, then you can switch to an alternative style.
- Arrange to prepare for weaving into verticals (up/down) and horizontals (left/right upper, left/right middle, left/right lower).
You can arrange your strands and jump straight into the spiral weave, or tie a starting layer first. It’s really not that different than starting off with the diagonals, but some weavers find the straight set up easier to arrange from the jumbled strands at the end knot. Once you get into weaving, the first layer doesn’t really affect the appearance anyway, so whatever works for you is a-ok with me (and the dogs). I’m going to dive right in with the diagonals and spiral weaving pattern for my tug toy.
Weaving the body of the twisted double spiral tug toy:
As explained above, the corkscrew spiral dog tug toy is woven using three spiral weave knots adjoining each other, all tied using the same vertical strands. Spirals are woven on a diagonal to opposing corners instead of straight like a basic square box knot. If your starting configuration is top vertical strand right (as shown in my example) weave shown in the diagram, collage photos, and instructions below. If your starting configuration position is top vertical strand left instead, it’s simply the opposite sequence.
- Fold your vertical strands (red in my example). The top right vertical bends to bottom left, bottom left vertical bends to top right.
- Weave your upper horizontals (blue in my example) so that they “trade places”. The very top strand at the upper left bends across and down to the starting position of your upper right strand, weaving over the under. The strand at the upper right bends across and up to the starting position of your upper left strand, weaving over the under.
- Weave your middle horizontals (white in my example) and lower horizontals (grey in my example) using the same technique.
- Incrementally and evenly tighten the weave into a set of adjacent checkerboard looking knots.
Repeat the same sequence to weave the remainder of tug. It’s easier to do this (and any fleece tug toy weaving) with the working end secured. I like to nip mine between my knees. No special fussing required with securing the end and it works great! If unsecured, it’s hard to neatly weave a pattern sequence. Movements or mix-ups can create pattern problems in the appearance of your finished tugs. As an extra caution for the corkscrew, accidently weaving straight sections can create a looser ribbony corkscrew that uncoils under tension.
Finishing the tug toy:
As always, don’t leave yourself short on material for tying off the end knot of your tug. I’m using a simple overhand knot, just like my starting end. As noted above, you can also use an alternative end knotting technique. Whatever your style, I recommend matching your starting knot technique for a consistent look.
- Loop and knot the end.
- Trim excess if/as needed.
Additional Toy Making Help and Information
Helpful information is also available in our tug toy FAQs, tips, and troubleshooting mini-series:
Safety first, furfriends! Remember, no matter what a toy is made of or how it’s made, toys are meant for supervised interactive play. Know your dog before giving him or her any new toy. Some dogs try to eat toys or parts (whether bought or handmade) and that’s doggone dangerous. Toys are for playing, and playtime is always safer (and way more fun!) with you involved. You can read more in our dog toy safety post, including tips and helpful links for safer playtime. Have fun and play safe!