How To Crochet An Octopus For A Preemie

crochet an octopus for a preemie

Recently I read about the wonderful people who are volunteering to crochet octopus toys for preemies.

This is an ongoing project, where many more toys are needed across the globe.

More Volunteers are needed to crochet small octopuses for local Newborn Infant Care Units (NICU).

octopus for a preemie So, what do octopuses have to do with preemies?

“The purpose of the crocheted octopuses is to promote comfort and development for the pre-term babies while in the hospital.
The tentacles of the soft octos mimic the feel of the umbilical cord in their tiny hands and have been found to soothe the babies and help prevent them from pulling on wires and tubes.”
— Octopus for a Preemie-US Project Ambassador Randi Palm of Lonsdale

crochet octopus for a preemieImage via Poole Hospital.

This project has been popular in Europe since 2013, it has recently started to take fruition in the United States.

“Since this is so new we are in desperate need of people to crochet our little octopuses, all of them would stay local.”
— Octopus for a Preemie-US Project Ambassador Randi Palm of Lonsdale

Additionally, Poole Hospital in Dorset, England, has read about the idea and started not only doing it, but also spreading the news of the wonderful effect the octopuses have on preemies.

“It’s incredible that something so simple can comfort a baby and help them feel better. We’re very grateful for all donations and we’re sure the families who use our service will be too. ”
— Daniel Lockyer, the neonatal services matron at Poole Hospital.

premature-baby-octopus-stuffed-toyImage via Bournemouth Echo.

Crochet Octopus Donations

If you would like to get involved and receive more information on specifics for crocheting an Octopus for a Preemie, contact Palm by calling 612-232-0111 (in the US) or email her at randi56071@yahoo.com.

Facebook pages have also been set up at Octopus for a Preemie – (US) / Octopus for a preemie (UK).

Please check that your octos will meet the requirements before you start crocheting.

octopus_for_premature_baby-1000×675Image from cells4life.com

Crochet An Octopus Toy To Give Comfort To Premature Babies

This amazing idea of giving preemies a crochet octopus originally started in Demark where doctors observed premature babies with their crocheted toys.

The babies that cuddled their octopus had overall health improvements with their breathing, regular heartbeat, strong oxygen blood levels, and were less bothered by the various monitors and IVs.

To most people’s surprise, the crochet octos had a calming effect on the babies.

premature babies with crochet octosImage via Poole Hospital.

Calling All Crocheters

One of the moms whose twin girls were given octos had this to say >

“One of the nurses brought in the octopus and explained the idea.
The girls absolutely love them. When they are asleep they hold onto the tentacles tightly.
Normally they would be in the womb and would play with the umbilical cord so the octopuses make them feel grounded and safe.”
— Kat Smith

If you’re a crocheter and feel inspired to make an octopus for a baby in need the hospitals that are taking donations would love your assistance as it’s their goal to give every premature baby an octopus of their very own.


freecrochetoctopuspattern

crochet octopus

Octopus Crochet Pattern (UK Terms)

This pattern is from the website Octopus For A Preemie UK where you will find many free octopus crochet patterns in both US and UK terms and information on how to donate your finished creations.

This is an example of a crochet octopus I made from the free pattern below.

If you want to use this pattern, there are video tutorials to help you and a free PDF download further down.

Crochet An Octopus For Preemies

Materials >

  • Crochet hook size 2mm (US 0) and 3mm (US C/2), use 3mm for tentacles (optional)
  • Cotton yarn it has to be 100% cotton! 4ply cotton is recommended.
  • Stuffing: Fibre filling – has to be washable at 60 degrees Celsius, we recommend “supreme toy filling” which can be bought on eBay and Amazon
  • Tapestry needle, to embroider the face, and to use it to sew on the bottom.

Abbreviations >

  • sc – single crochet
  • st – stitch sts – stitches
  • ch – chain
  • inc – 2 sc in 1 stitch to increase
  • sl st – slip stitch
  • dec – decrease by crocheting *…* – repeat the next 2 sc together
Crochet Octopus Pattern >

Body >

  • Working in continuous rounds: Using a 2mm hook.
  • 1 st round: 6 sc in a magic ring
  • 2 nd round: 2sc in each st (12 sts)
  • 3 rd round: *1sc, 1 inc* x 6 (18 sts)
  • 4 th round: *2sc, 1inc* x 6 (24 sts)
  • 5th round: *3sc, 1inc* x6 (30 sts)
  • 6 th round: *4sc, 1inc* x 6 (36 sts)
  • 7 th round : *5sc, 1inc* x 6 (42sts)
  • 8 th – 16th round: 1 sc in each st (42 sts)
  • 17th round: *5sc, 1dec* x6 (36 sts)
  • 18th – 19th round: 1sc in each st (36 sts)
  • 20th round: *4sc, 1dec* x6 (30 sts)
  • 21st – 22nd round: 1sc in each st (30 sts)
  • 23rd round: *3sc, 1dec* x6 (24 sts)
  • 24th – 25th round: 1sc in each st (24 sts) Start stuffing the body, will fill it completely later.
  • 26th round: *2sc, 1dec* x6 (18 sts)
  • 27th round: *7sc, 1 dec* x2 (16 sts) 28th round: 1sc in each st (16 sts)

There are 3 ways to finish the Octopus >>

The first way to finish the octopus > (recommended for beginners)

Fill Octopus firmly. Make a bottom and attach the bottom using round 29 29th round: work 1dc in each st around (16sts) change to 3mm hook if wishing thicker tentacles, stay with 2mm if wanting slim ones.

This is where the tentacles start: *1 sc, chain around 50 – chain until you have a 22cm long chain, turn, 2 sc in each chain, make sure to use the top loop for the tentacle to curl. 1 sc in next st of the body. 1sc and then chain again.

The second way to finish the octopus >

On round 28 change to 3mm hook if wishing thicker tentacles, stay with 2mm if wanting slim ones. This is where the tentacles start – to make tentacles use only the front loops of each of the stitches: *1 sc, chain around 50 – chain until you have a 22cm long chain, turn, 2 sc in each chain, make sure to use the top loop for the tentacle to curl. 1 sc in next st of the body. 1sc and then around 50 chains again. Make bottom and sew to the body using the back loops stitches and the same yarn.

The third way to finish the octopus >

On round 28 change to 3mm hook if wishing thicker tentacles, stay with 2mm if wanting slim ones. This is where the tentacles start – to make tentacles use only the front loops of each of the stitches: *1 sc, chain around 50 – chain until you have a 22cm long chain, turn, 2 sc in each chain, make sure to use the top loop for the tentacle to curl. 1 sc in next st of the body. 1sc and then around 50 chains again. 29th round: close body using decrease.

Bottom >

  • 1 st round: 5 sc in a magic ring
  • 2 nd round: 2 sc in each stitch (10 stitches)
  • 3 rd round: *1sc, 1inc* x5(15 stitches) End with a sl st, cut the yarn but leave enough to sew on to the body.

Assembling the octo: Embroider eyes and mouth in your preferred design.

The size of the finished octopus > 

  • Head MUST have a min diameter of 3.5 cm and a length of 3.5 – 8cm from top to bottom when stuffed
  • Tentacles: Head length 3.5 – 5cm: 10 – 16cm tentacles / Head length 5 – 8cm: 16 – 22cm tentacles
  • Stuff the body firmly, but not solid. Must have a little spring to it.

crochetoctopuspatternfree

Make A Crochet Octopus For Premature Babies

If you would like to download an easy to print out PDF of this pattern for free please click on the link below. 

Please note >

**Please be aware that the octos featured in this post should meet the standards required by the people campaigning.**

For further information please visit >>

Facebook page at Octopus for a Preemie – (US) / Octopus for a preemie (UK).

Check out the requirements for donations and other information there.

**Do not make these to give to other babies or young children as the tentacles may pose as a choking hazard. Please use common sense when making and giving these octos.**


Crochet Octopus Free Patterns

Below are free crochet patterns that will help to get you started!

*Click on the image to view the pattern page* 

1. A wonderful free crochet pattern from mynomadhome.com.

octopus-for-a-preemie-4265-1

2. The image below is from the Octopus For A Preemie US Facebook Page.

Click on the image to visit the page and find out more information about how you can help.

Crochet octopus pattern


Are you going to make one or more of these to send?

Let me know in the comments below! xoxo

9 Comments

  1. Diane Perkins
    June 9, 2017 / 12:23 am

    I can’t wait to start making these and get in touch with where I can donate them. My best friend from Highschool delivered her daughter at 27 weeks and I spent some time with them in the NICU. It’s an unbelievable place that I would love to be able to give each and every baby a little love. If this is how I can do it, I’m ALL FOR IT!!!! Thank you for sharing this free pattern and the information!

    • Louise Bollanos
      Author
      June 9, 2017 / 6:40 am

      Hi Diane, thank you for reading the post, I hope you enjoy making the octos! 🙂

  2. July 25, 2017 / 1:24 pm

    What a unique and wonderful idea. My grandkids (twins) were 32 week preemies. They get great care in the NICU.

  3. DeeDee Mathis
    July 28, 2017 / 8:17 pm

    Hi my name is DeeDee and I would love to start making these. This is such a fantastic idea. How do I find out where the nearest place to donate these. I live in southern California

    • Louise Bollanos
      Author
      July 29, 2017 / 8:06 am

      Hello! You can contact Octopus for a Preemie-US Project Ambassador Randi Palm of Lonsdale by calling 612-232-0111 (in the US) or email her at randi56071@yahoo.com for more information. Facebook pages have also been set up at Octopus for a Preemie – (US) https://www.facebook.com/octoforapreemieus/ where you can get in touch and find out more information. Thanks for reading 🙂

  4. Carlene ElfringParker
    October 27, 2017 / 2:26 pm

    Hello, my name isCarlene. My first grandson started his life in the NICU at Storment-Vail hospital in Topeka Kansas, I wish I would have known about this. I have begun crocheting these octopus and I would like to know where I can donate them. I live in Leavenworth, Ks. These are very easy and fun to make.

    • Louise Bollanos
      Author
      October 30, 2017 / 1:04 pm

      Hello,

      If you would like to get involved and receive more information on specifics for crocheting an Octopus for a Preemie, contact Octopus for a Preemie-US Project Ambassador Randi Palm of Lonsdale by calling 612-232-0111 (in the US) or email her at randi56071@yahoo.com. Facebook pages have also been set up at Octopus for a Preemie – (US) / Octopus for a preemie (UK).

      There is also a list of hospitals in the US taking donations on this blog;
      https://abeautifulfriendship.blog/2017/03/01/octopus-for-a-premie-usa/

      Thanks for reading! 🙂

  5. thelma
    April 30, 2018 / 7:12 pm

    Hi Louise,
    love the project and I did one , and try to do more while improving the technique.
    I love octopuses as I dive close to them in Maldives once, and the idea that they could also help
    prematures somehow it looks fantastic!
    I do not usually write comments, but my name is Thelma so I need to let you know that I am
    here in London, crocheting octopuses !
    thanks and best regards

    • Louise Bollanos
      Author
      May 1, 2018 / 7:09 am

      Hi there, Thelma! Thank you so much for your comment, I am really happy that you wanted to leave a note here. I too am trying to improve my crochet knowledge, I am a beginner really and looking to get better this year. I want to master that popcorn/bobble stitch next, as my sister in law uses it all of the time to make chic little evening bags. I hope that London is treating you well and thank you for reading and getting involved with the octos for preemies project 🙂

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