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My rattles are made in 3 pieces – first, you make the leaf, then you make the apple and attach the leaf to it, only then you crochet a separate striped handle and attach the apple to the handle. This construction gave me the best and most sturdy results.
I made one pink apple without the handle as well. Just to see how it works. It still makes a nice sound, because it has a plastic rattle insert inside just like the others.