Beautiful Things has launched an octopus Crochet Along (CAL) following news of these little critters being used in neonatal units across Europe to aid the comfort and development of premature babies.

You can read all about it in this article in the Daily Mail http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-4167048/Hospitals-giving-premature-babies-cuddly-octopus-toys.html

Claire has launched he own campaign and has agreed to donate any octopi made and sent into BTHQ to the Neonatal unit at Broomfield hospital who are looking forward to receiving them.

If you would like to make an octopus please follow the instructions and pattern below and post to Beautiful Things, Unit 1 Ingrave Enterprise Centre, 8 Brentwood Road, Brentwood, Essex, CM13 3QH

The optimal size of the octopus is around 7-9 cm in length of the head and around 7-8 cm in head circumference. They shouldn’t be much bigger because of the limited space in the incubator. For the octopus to be the right size you should use a 3 or 3,5 mm hook and a cotton yarn the point is to make the octopus very tight so that the filling doesn’t come out when it is a bit stretched). They should be filled with polyester fibre that you can find in teddy bears or pillows and that can be washed at 60º C. The size of the head as well as the hardness of it is not as important as the length of the arms. For safety reasons the outstretched arm cannot exceed 22 cm.

If you can, please donate octopuses through your local “Octopus for a preemie” Facebook group –  so that the hospitals don’t have to deal with every person who wants to contribute, but most importantly, it guarantees that no octopus poses threat to the safety and health of vulnerable preemies as the groups check if every octopus meets all requirements. If you are making these for the Beautiful Things group then please send them to BTHQ and we will distribute them through the proper channels.

And this is the pattern for the octopus
Converted to UK terms

ch – chain
dc – double crochet
dc2tog – double crochet 2 stitches together (decrease)
sl st – slip stitch

inc – 2dc in one stitch (increase)

R1: 6 dc in a magic ring
R2: Inc (2 dc) in all st (12)
R3: Inc, dc – repeat x6 (18)
R4: Inc, dc, dc – repeat x6 (24)
R5: Inc, dc, dc, dc – repeat x6 (30)
R6: Inc, dc, dc, dc, dc – repeat x6 (36)
R7-14: 1 dc in all st (36)
R15: 4 dc, dc2tog – repeat x6 (30)
R16-17: 1 dc in all st (30)
R18: 3 dc, dc2tog – repeat x6 (24)
R19-20: 1 dc in all st (24)
R21: 2 dc, dc2 tog – repeat x6 (18)
R22: 1 dc in all st (18)
R23: 7 dc, dc2tog – repeat x2 (16)
R24: 1 dc in all st (16)
R25: Here you start the legs: *50 ch, turn and make 4 dc in each ch make a dc in 2 of the stitches around the base of the octopus head*.  Repeat 7 times so you get 8 arms. End with 1 sl st and cast off.

You may need to twizzle you legs round and round in an anti clockwise direction to get them to spiral properly. It is important that you keep the chain straight when you are doing your DC’s into it to stop the spiral twisting in the wrong direction.

If the outstretched arms are longer that 22 cm, make fewer chains to start.

The base of the octopus:

R1: 5 dc in a magic ring
R2: 2 dc in all st (10)
R3: inc, 1 dc – repeat x4 (15). Finish with a sl st and cast off. Weave in the ends.

Make eyes and embroider the face of your choosing.  (safety eyes and beads are not to be used, all faces must be made from cotton to comply with sterilisation requirements) Stuff and stitch the base to the bottom of the octopus and your lovely little creature is complete!