Oh my goodness I LOVE these guys! An octopus for preemies! So cute and so fun! If you’ve read the news lately, you may have heard about how these little octopi are comforting premature babies in neo natal units. You can read a great article here. A few years ago in Denmark, a father asked for a crocheted octopus for his baby. Hospital staff observed that the premature babies grasped the curly tentacles of the octopus instead of pulling at their tubes. The theory is that the curly tentacles mimic the umbilical cord and comfort the baby! What an amazing thought!
Of course I couldn’t find an octopus pattern that was made just the way I like. I’m not a fan of sewing on extra pieces when I can crochet something on instead. I also like a round octopus head, but acknowledge that it really should have a slight oval shape as a nod to a real octopus. So my version has a slightly oblong head and a clever construction for attaching the tentacles. I used safety eyes, but you could embroider facial features instead. If you are making this with intentions of donating it, you should contact your particular hospital to get their requirements. And, like any other toy for a baby or small child, please supervise and take any other precautions put safety first. I hope you enjoy it. **Edited to add: One of my readers brought to my attention that hospitals will not allow safety eyes on donated octopus. If you are planning on making this octopus for a small child, please embroider the eyes instead. My octopus currently resides on a shelf in my adult only office, so safety eyes are fine for that.***
To make this cutie, I used ‘I Love this Cotton’ worsted weight yarn by Hobby Lobby and 9 mm safety eyes. I used a C (2.50 mm) hook. A small hook produces a tight finished product and no stuffing will show through the stitches (and no small holes for tiny fingers to slip into). The tentacles are just the right length–long enough to be fun, but not too long.
With worsted weight cotton yarn and a C hook, make a magic ring.
R1: 6 sc into ring (6 st)
R2: 2 sc in ea st around (12 st)
R3: *sc in next st, 2 sc in next st, repeat from * around (18 st)
R4: *sc in next 2 st, 2 sc in next st, repeat from * around (24 st)
R5: *sc in next 3 st, 2 sc in next st, repeat from * around (30 st)
R6: *sc in next 4 st, 2 sc in next st, repeat from * around (36 st)
R7-12: sc around (36 st)
R13: *sc in next 4 st, sc 2 tog, repeat from * around (30 st)
R14: sc around (30 st)
If you are using safety eyes, now is the time to attach them. Using 9mm safety eyes, attach between rows 12 & 13, allowing approximately 5 stitches in between, or whatever distance looks good to you. If you are embroidering the eyes for an octopus for a small child, do so after the octopus is stuffed and completed.
R15: *sc in next 3 st, sc 2 tog, repeat from * around (24 st)
R16: sc around (24 st)
R17: *sc in next 2 st, sc 2 tog, repeat from * around. (18 st)
R18: *sc in next st, sc 2 tog, repeat from * around (12 st)
Stuff the octopus. Now you will work the next row in the front loop only. Later you will come back through on the underside to grab those back loops and finish off the octopus.
R19: working in the front loop only, *sc in the next 2 st, sc 2 tog, repeat from * around (8 st).
Now make the tentacles as follows:
*ch 50. sc in the 2nd ch from hook. 2 sc in ea chain across. When back to the body, sl st in the next stitch. Repeat from * 7 more times to make a total of 8 tentacles.
Arrange the octopus so that the tentacles are overlapping the body/head and the open end is up towards you. You will be working in the free loops from row 19 which are now on the underside of your octopus. They can be a bit difficult to see, so just do your best and sc 2 together around. Fasten off yarn and then weave the yarn through the remaining stitches and pull tight.
Here’s a slightly different angle of the octopi so you can better see how the tentacles attach.
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