Crochet works really well at making a dense fabric, so it's perfect for making toys. One of the best in the business is Kerry Lord of Toft Alpaca.
The designs she creates are funny, realistic, and uses non-petroleum based fibres that are spun in the UK. Alpaca is great for toys like this beause it's beautifully soft, but lots of other fibres work just as well.
The Edward's Menagerie Book is filled with lovely patterns, that are easy enough for beginners.
If you want to spin you own yarn then it's worth trying out reversing your directions... the action of crochet tends to un-ply yarn, so you might find it better to spin s direction singles, and ply them with z twist.... Confused? In short it's the opposite way round to the way most of us use. So when you spin your singles it will be with the wheel turning anti-clockwise, and then ply with it going clockwise.
Toys are great for using up odds and ends, because you need contrast colours for hooves, eyes, ears, manes...
This post is part of my advent calendar 2016. Every day in December we're saying so long to 2016 by embracing learning, knowledge and creativity. Each day there will be a new post with a new skill or craft. You can read all the past posts here.