Wine bottle cork: used is fine. A cork gives the fish a good body for thwacking and skittering, but won’t leave fluff all over when the fish is finally disemboweled
About 30-50 yards (12-15 grams) of kitchen cotton, or other worsted weight yarn
US4 double pointed needles (use a smaller than usual needle to make a tight fabric)
An exact gauge is not necessary. Adjust needles and stitches to fit your cork.
With Judy’s Magic Cast On, co 6 stitches over two dpns (3 on each needle). (Nothing bad would happen if you used a long-tail or other cast on; arrange stitches on dpns as in instructions below and if necessary stitch up the fish’s nose before adding the cork.)
Set up round (the fiddly bit):
Knit 2 stitches onto a third dpn. This will be needle 1. Knit 1 stitch onto needle 2. Knit 2 stitches onto needle 3. Knit last stitch onto needle 4.
Throughout the pattern, needle 1 and needle 3 will have the same stitch pattern and stitch count. After rounds A and B below, needle 2 and needle 4 will have three stitches, until they are decreased to 1 before the tail is bound off.
Begin increase rounds:
A: Needle 1: Knit into the front and back of each stitch (kfb, kfb) (4 st). Needle 2: Kfb (2 st). Needle 3: Kfb, kfb. Needle 4: Kfb.
B: Needle 1: K all st. Needle 2: Kfb, k1 (3 st). Repeat for needle 3 and 4.
C: Needle 1: Kfb, k to last st, kfb. Needle 2: k all st. Repeat for needle 3 and 4.
D: K all st.
Repeat rounds C and D until there are 10 st on needle 1 and 3.
Weave in and clip the tail from the cast-on. K 12 rounds plain, until the fish body is as long as the cork that’s going to go into it.
By this time you should have a little knitted pouch on your needles. Stick the cork into the pouch.
Begin decrease rounds:
E: Needle 1: Do a left-leaning decrease (SSK), k to last two stitches, knit 2 stitches together (k2tog). Needle 2: k all st. Repeat for needle 3 and 4.
F: K all st.
Continue rounds E and F until there are 4 st on needle 1 and 3.
G: Needle 1: Kfb, k to last st, kfb. Needle 2: k all st. Repeat for needle 3 and 4.
Repeat G (do not knit a plain round between increase rounds) until there are 12 st on needle 1 and 3.
H: Needle 1: k all st. Needle 2: Ktog, k 1. Repeat for needle 3 and 4.
J: Needle 1: k all st, then k2tog the stitches from needle 2 and add the last stitch to needle 1 (13 st on needle 1). Repeat for needle 3 and 4 (you may find it easier to k2tog the stitches from needle 2 and 4 onto a separate needle, then slip the st onto needle 1 or 3).
Line up the stitches on needle 1 and 3 and close with a 3-needle bind off, or graft the stitches together. Weave in end. Give to cat.
This pattern is free to knit and sell for charity or to knit for the use of any cat you like a lot.