Octopus for a preemie

Octopus for a preemie

About the project

World Wide Knit In Public Day 2016 and dziergadanie prawelewe KIP are joined events this year, and take place under the OCTOPUS FOR A PREEMIE project umbrella. This is a world-wide project focused on making squishy octopus toys for premature babies. The tentacles of the octos are meant to resemble the umbilical cord and to remind the babies of their time in the womb.

The concept was born in 2013 in Denmark. More about the original idea is to be found here (in Danish) and here (in English). Making octos for preemies has spread around since and there are many countries where people make and donate their octopus toys to local hospitals. There is a group of Polish volunteers, who coordinate this project in Poland, too (their page is here).

Myself and my friend-Irishmagda have decided to support this idea both for Polish and Irish babies, and for anyone who wishes to take advantage of our versions of the instructions and make octos for any preemie. Based on the original Danish instructions, we have prepared our own version of the patterns for crochet and knitted Octopus, both in Polish and English (UK and US terms).

18th June 2016 is the WWKIP Day so prawelewe and a Wrocław’s LYS-Makeland have joined for a great cause. We meet with our friends, customers, fans and new people to knit and crochet octopus toys, and then donate them for premature babies in hospitals in Wrocław, Poland. There are two techniques you can use to make your octos: crochet (will look similar to the octo on the left in the picture) and knitting (will look somewhat like the one on the right in the picture). There are certain rules for making your octopus toys so they could be given to premature babies, and all are described in the patters (those are also available on the Danish page, Polish project’s page and surely any other coordinators group’s page you will find) but not so many, and all of them are because the octopus toys are to be healthy, helpful and forever for every baby who receives it.

About the event

Our dziergadanie prawelewe KIP + WWKiP Day 2016 have their special FB event here. There is also an event on the official World Wide Knit In Public Day page. You are all welcome to join us, regardless of your level of expertise in knitting or crochet.

WWKiP Day 2016_63 dziergadanie prawelewe KIP(The avatar with octopus used in the banner above is by Pracownia Artystyczna “Ale pomysł!” and comes from this page.)

Octopus for a preemie

Especially for you
Although the WWKiP Day and our 62. dziergadanie prawelewe KIP is a one-day event, this project participation is by no means to end the same day. There is a plan to bring this idea to Ireland- one of our Ravelry prawelewe group friends wants to spread the news there so the patterns published on the prawelewe page are for everybody who wants to get involved. Enjoy!

Please note that there might be slight differences in requirements given by coordinators in different countries. It simply depends on the agreement the people who run the project make with the representatives of the local hospitals. Please make sure that you work your octopus toys exactly the way it is described by the people who will collect your work from you, otherwise your octos might not reach the babies.

Patterns available for a free download

If you grab one or more of them for yourself, please leave a comment below this post to share with all of us that you are involved.

NOTE: English patterns have been slightly updated; the current version is 20-06-2016. Please make sure to work with the newest version of these files.

thumbnail of Octopus for a preemie_Knitted_18-06-2016

Octopus for a preemie- knitted version 20-06-2016 ENG –> Download this pattern

If you download the pattern, please leave your comment under this post- let us spread the news!


thumbnail of Octopus for a preemie_Crochet_18-06-2016

Octopus for a preemie- crochet version 20-06-2016 ENG –> Download this pattern

If you download the pattern, please leave your comment under this post- let us spread the news!

thumbnail of Osmiorniczka dla wczesniaka_druty_18-06-2016

Ośmiorniczka dla wcześniaka- wzór na druty 18-06-2016 PL –> Download this pattern

If you download the pattern, please leave your comment under this post- let us spread the news!

thumbnail of Osmiorniczka dla wczesniaka_szydelko_18-06-2016

Ośmiorniczka dla wcześniaka- wzór na szydełko 18-06-2016 PL –> Download this pattern

If you download the pattern, please leave your comment under this post- let us spread the news!







114 thoughts on “Octopus for a preemie

  1. Thank you for the knitted version, I shall enjoy making some of these for a very very good cause, my sister was born 3months premature in 1959 and was looked after in Solihull Hospital after beeing transferred from Oswestry in Shropshire. She passed away in 2009 after a long battle with MS, and making some of these will make her smile.

  2. I have downloaded this pattern to go with the hats, blankets, incubator jackets, nighties I already knit for our local neo-natal. My daughter lost her son when she went into labour at only 25 weeks (he was gorgeous) and they just give away all of these things so I wanted to give back. I hadn’t heard of the octopus thing before but its a great way to use up bits of wool left over. And I’m glad you can knit them as well cause I can’t crochet

  3. I have a childrens/baby shop in Tewkesbury and received a distraut call from a lady who wanted one of these octopus’.
    I had never heard of them I am ashamed to say but this morning I was relating this to a lady and gentleman and lo and behold their daughter works in a neo-natal unit! A swift telephone call and hear I am!!
    I was a bit disapointed when I found that they were crocheted as I can only knit so I was overjoyed to find a knitting pattern!
    I shall download it and get cracking!
    Thank you so much

  4. What a great idea, I am knitting prem baby hats for our local hospitals at present but this will be my next project

  5. Thank you for generously allowing us to download your pattern. I was only reading about these octopuses the other day but they were crocheted and I am a knitter. So now I can get involved in knitting octopuses – many thanks to you ladies in Poland.

  6. Thank you for the donation of the octopus pattern. A friend has started a group for our local hospital but I can only knit and her pattern is a crochet octopus so now I can help with your pattern

  7. just printed both knit and crochet patterns to share with craft group friends with the intention that we make some to send off in lincolnshire we are mainly mums to healthy happy well grown children who feel for those parents of poorly and prem babies

  8. Thank you for patterns for knitting and crochet. I will have a try at each version for prem babies in Aberdeen, Scotland

  9. I have downloaded this pattern to take to my knit and natter group for a future project, after we have made twiddle muffs for Alzheimer sufferers.

  10. Thank you so much for your article and your patterns. I have put a post on my website today about the Octopus for a Preemie projects and have linked it to your site.

  11. I have downloaded the pattern which I will take to my knit and nstter group. We have knit blankets, cardigans and hats. The Octopus will make a great change

  12. Hi – my daughter told me about these but in crochet which is not for me. Delighted to find knitted version and once I have sourced the correct wool will be having a go. Love to knit for prem babies but this is a little different so lets hope I can make them okay. Thank you for the lovely pattern and good luck to all who are making these wonderful toys.

  13. I love this idea. I have downloaded your pattern, and will be knitting a few and dropping the into my local Maternity Unit at Victoria Hospital, Blackpool. Thank you for sharing this pattern. Maureen.

  14. pressure’s on from my nieces to make some of these so thanks for the pattern 😀

  15. Denise, yes, they could be, if you prefer. But straight or DPNs will do, too. You do not knit these octoc in a round but flat.

  16. Mel, I like the crochet version more, too.
    Although, I will get back to knitted version when I have some more time to see if I can tweak it to look nicer.
    I wonder if you made both versions, and what your opinion is.

  17. Elizabeth, Helen, Carole b., Erin, Cathy and all of you who face issues with dowloading the patterns:
    1. Make sure you do not have any blockers set up on your device and that you can open pop=ups- all the instructions are saved as PDF files and they sit under the relevant button so all you need to do is click the button and a pop-up window with download message should appear.
    2. If you get the pop-up window but cannot locate the file, it is probably saved in a default location on your device so try to check Download or Temp folders.
    3. Make sure you can open PDF files.

    If none of the above helps, you are always welcome to drop me an e-mail (see About section) or write via Ravelry to me (http://www.ravelry.com/people/Cathliin) or leave a comment in the octo-dedicated thread in my prawelewe group (http://www.ravelry.com/groups/prawelewe).

    Greets, ~C.

  18. Hello Deb, there are other ladies with similar problem, and I gave them the same answer I will give you. Knitted version makes the octo softer so if you wish to make it for donation, the filling should not go through the stitches, hence you need smaller, tighter stitches. In order to make those, try using smaller needles or thicker yarn, e.g. cotton held twice. It is also important to knit really tight, especially if you are a loose knitter.
    Hope it works well for you.
    Good luck!

  19. Hi Amanda, I appreciate your professional approach.
    As you can read both in my post above and in the instructions files, this project originates from Denmark. All the links I know are provided in the pattern files. If you already know a coordinator of this project in your area, they should know everything that is needed. If you want to become a coordinator, you need to contact the team in Denmark, although I must say I tried to get their English instructions with no success. (That is why I and my friend wrote our own versions for everybody interested).
    Hope you will find the answer.
    All the best.

  20. Janet, it takes a bit of practice, even if you crochet a lot. Also, you may want to try with smaller hook or a bit thicker cotton. The goal is to make the fabric in such a way that the filling cannot get through the stitches. Hope you will work this out so your octos are exactly like needed for the babies.

  21. Hi Sandra,
    thank you so, so much for pointing this out. Indeed, there should be TURN stated at the end of R9. Yes, you turn, then bind off 80 stitches (those would be all the doubled stitches you worked in the last row).
    My method of binding off always leaves me with one stitch once I am done that is why you see 21 k later instead of 22 k. The deal in this row is to bind off all those 40 x 2 stitches and then work the remaining 22 stitches to the end of the row.
    Hope it clarifies this part. Of course, I will update the instructions shortly. Thank you once more.
    Warm greetings to you.
    xxx ~C.

  22. Hi Andrea, as I already mentioned several posts below, the knitted version is softer than the crocheted one. If you wish to make your knitted octo stiff, use smaller needles or thicker yarn. To make the tentacles curly, make sure that in row two you add one stitch more per every stitch from the first row, i.e. you need to double the number of stitches on return. This makes the tentacles to curl.
    Hope it helps. Let me know, please!

  23. Sammy, of course you can, you are welcome. Only do not sell it please- this project is all about giving. ~C.

  24. Hi there Sue, great to read from you.
    I use washable filling for cushions. It is the same thing you use for stuffing toys. The point is to use the one that is washable. Hospitals in your area might have special requests so it is crucial that you contact the organisation you wish to support with these toys. The best way to do that is through local coordinators of this project.
    Good luck and enjoy working on your octos!
    xxx ~C.

  25. Hello Tetesa, so great to have you involved.
    The colours are totally your choice, unless your local hospital wishes to have something specific. Please try to find coordinators of this project in your area- they know everything: how many of octos are needed per month per hospital, where to send them, what are the materials to use, what are the rules local hospitals set etc.
    And enjoy working with the intructions!
    x ~C.

  26. Hi Wendy, thank you for reaching out. This project is present in many countries worldwide. If you write from Poland, let me know, and I will be able to navigate you in the right direction. If you are in another country, try to find local editions of this project- it will be easier for you to send your octos to local coordinators. Also, it is crucial that you know exactly what are the local hospitals’ expectations towards the toys they collect.

  27. What a lovely crowd! Ladies, thank you so much for commenting. I am having a break with posting and working in my studio due to major changes in my life so let me reply in general first to all of you who reached out and shared your joy:

    dee, Carol St., Pauline, HookerMom, Louise, Angela, Carol S., L.A.H., Rose, fireandhugs, Deborah, Elaine, Ros, Lynne, Corinne, Jackie, Katy, Carol M.S., Lasley, Ann, Karen, Lynne b., ann b., Anne, Kerry, Lily, Kay, Jo, Tanya, Joanm, Viv, Julia, Pauline, Sheila, Linda, Dorothy, Maria, Veronica, Megan, Kate, Gail, Lina, Catherine, Tracey, Wendy, Angie and lynn

    THANK YOU so much for your warm comments, and for your strong will to participate in this project worldwide. I especially love reading about your location- this makes this world so small.

    There are some questions about the pattern, too, so let me reply those comments separately.

    By the way, if you have issues downloading the patterns or you have questions about instructions, feel free to drop me an e-mail or post in octo-dedicated thread in my prawelewe group on Ravelry: http://www.ravelry.com/groups/prawelewe

    xxx ~C.

  28. I using the knitting pattern but my tentables are not curly – have you any idea where I am going wrong?

  29. Hi there, can you direct me to the actual research behind this project please. It is my hospitals requirement to see this before we can start putting these into incubators. Thanks Amanda

  30. Thanks for this pattern. I have tried crocheting them, but can’t get it tight enough.

  31. I am having a problem with the pattern. Row 10 says BO80, k21, turn -but line 9 did not say turn. So are you meant to just continue same row and bind off? But there are not 80 stitches to bind off on the row


  33. my daughter is training to be a midwife in Australia, and she mentioned seeing these, so i thought i would search for a pattern. I am thrilled that other mums are supporting their daughters by knitting these for their ‘clients’ too!! a wonderful project!!

  34. Thank you. My daughter is doing BScN and her clinical instructor was asking for hats for newborns and premies, I can’t wait to send some octopi as well as hats.

  35. I read the article from Denmark & was anxious to find a knitted pattern to try. My sister volunteers weekly at a hospital in Wilkes- barre, Pa. to cuddle preemies and I’d like to donate some to this hospital. Thank You, Gail

  36. I downloaded and done my first one for Calderdale Royal Hospital Halifax for the Special Care Baby Unit.

  37. Thank you for the pattern. We have a knitting group at work in Austin, TAX and want to make some to donate.

  38. I have printed the pattern off and will look through all my wool to see what I can find appropriate.

  39. Hi can I please share this knitting pattern for knit club ladies to use for our local hospital East Surrey?

  40. I’ve just started knitting tiny hats and botties for the premie baby’s. Once I have a good few I will pass them on to the hospital. So I will have a go at these too. Thankyou

  41. My daughter noted this for me and I am thrilled to be a part of this project. I am from Nova Scotia, Canada and close by the IWK hospital for preemie babies. Thank you for this opportunity.

  42. Its always good to make something that helps someone. I will make some and find a hospital that needs them.

  43. Have just downloaded both patterns, some pleased I can crochet too as it looks much nicer than the knitted one!

  44. I make small blanket,, & 2 different size hats. Wash them put them in bags for our local NICU. I can’t wait to crochet these, to put one in each of the bags… A great way to use up any left over yarn. Thank You for supplying a pattern for me.

  45. My little premie, born 18 years ago weighing 1lb 12oz at 27 weeks, would have loved one of these. I am going to get as many people as I can knitting these! xx

  46. I’m having problems down loading the knitted version( may be my iPad or me) I’d love to knit some as my granddaughter whose nearly 13 was born 9 weeks premature at st James leeds.Is there any way I can get the knitted pattern sent to me.Many thanks

  47. I want to make one. I see it has to be made in 100% cotton BUT what do you stuff the head with.Doesvanyone know. I sssume it has to be something that stands upyto a boil wash?????

  48. I just downloaded and printed patterns were do i send them when done and does any colour count thankyou.

  49. Thank you for sharing your pattern
    . A friend put me on to it and I am going to give it a try. I live in Australia and need to find out if any of our hostipals are part
    Of it

  50. Thanks for the pattern – will send to the local mat unit once completed the octopus. Somerset, UK.

  51. Thank you SO much for sharing the pattern. Our Inner Wheel group District 298 are going to make this a project for our NICU here in Dunedin NZ.

  52. Wonderful idea. I volunteer to cuddle babies in the NICU in Palm Springs. I shall pass this on to the nurses. Thank you so much.

  53. Downloaded the pattern for The Tiny Toppers, we knit hats for newborns and donate to local hospitals. We will be adding the octopus to our repertoire. Thanks for sharing the pattern.

  54. I am going to try to get several women in our area to help make these for our local hospitals, in Maryland and Pennsylvania.

  55. I am going to send this to my friend to crochet as I can’t crochet .I want to knit one but I have tried to download the knitting pattern but it won’t download for some reason .

  56. This will be my first try at knitting the octopus . I hope to make many more .for such a good cause

  57. These make so much sense for the preemies. I love these octopus creatures and am looking forward to adding them to my preemie projects! Thank you for the knitting pattern – I’m a klutz when it comes to crocheting.

  58. Can you please tell me if these are still needed for prem babies? I would love to knit some!

  59. Looking forward to making both the crochet and knitted version. I will contact the hospitals in Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill, NC to see if they are interested in receiving these


  61. thank you for sharing your patterns I will be sharing with friends to make these for our local neonatal units in Bristol, UK

  62. I had originally planned to knit some octopuses for charity but will now first make a few for a friend’s baby who was born at 30 weeks 2 days ago. Thank you so much for providing the information and the patterns x. I’m from Yorkshire, England.

  63. Thank you Allyson for reaching out. It is really heart-warming message. Enjoy working on the instructions and then spreading joy by gifting the octos to others.

  64. Hi Winifred, this is simply amazing to be indirectly involved in your activity. Thank you very much for letting me know about your project. All the best to all of you!

  65. Welcome to my world of prawelewe Patricia. Thank you so much for writing. Is sounds lovely to know that you are planning to get more people involved in this project. All the ebst to you. Warm greetings from Poland.

  66. You are welcome, Chrissy. I am happy that these instructions helped you make somebody else smile.

  67. Hi Carolyn, thank you for sharing. I am glad that you found my page. Enjoy working with the patterns and sharing the joy of gifting the octos to all who need them.

  68. Thank you for this. I belong to a group in the North East of England which knits for various charities including Neo Natal Units.

    This will be very useful for them and also the Alzheimer’s group.

  69. Hello. Thank you for this pattern. I work in aged care and have quite a few knitters who might like to be involved in this idea. So will run this by my manager. I’m from Australia.

  70. Gave to a friend of mine at work who is an avid crochet and knitter. She had never heard of these until i showed them to her. Thanks a bunch!

  71. I work in a neonatal unit and saw one of these in an incubator and was fascinated by it!! Can’t wait to try out your patters!

  72. Hi Doris, thank you for reaching out. It is wonderful that you work on this pattern.
    To CO those additional stitches you only need to loop your yarn over the needle. I show this in one of my videos on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2BDmV5yLTSo&list=PL09EA4AE087CE7AD0&index=12 (skip to about one minute from the beginning…and listen me speak Polish :)…to see how to do it).

    When it comes to needles, you only need two straight needles (DPNs or regular) because knitted octo is done sideways not in a round, i.e. you knit it from the tip of its head to the bottom using short rows, work tentacle and get back to the top of the head. So the octo is semi-flat before you seem it, like shown on the pictures under ‘Assembling the body’ section on page 5 of the pattern.

    Hugs, C. xxx

  73. I am trying to knit an octopus and do not understand how to CO the additional 40 stitches after you have 22 knit stitches on the needle.
    Also, should I use a circular needle or two straight or four straight needles? I can knit but this seems difficult.
    I cannot crochet but that looks easier.
    Many thanks.

  74. Hi Sandra,
    the patterns presented on my page are both in Polish and Enligh, and the eEnglish version has both UK and US terms. You will find it all inside. Enjoy and let your hands work well and stay painless. ~C.

  75. Hi Pat,
    unfortunately I do not have yarn to give for those toys. Some of the octos I made came from gifted yarn. Where are you staying now? I am pretty sure there is a similar initiative in your area, and hopefully there is yarn to be used for such projects. Maybe you could ask around. All the best! xxx

  76. I would love to make some between orders but have badly arthritic hands. To keep them moving I knit and crochet and tend to alternate between them both when they start to hurt. Therefore I would like both patterns UK versions. However I can only find the knitted version.

  77. If you can provide the wool I can do loads of knitted toys for them I would do them but can not afford the wool and the stuffing as I am not in work just on disability money

  78. You are welcome Malgorzata. I am happy to learn that the instructions are useful. Enjoy and share. xxx

  79. Thank you for a translated patterns. All is very clean for me to understand. I would like to use them for project in UK.

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