Crocheting preemie octopuses has become a wonderful way to provide comfort and sensory stimulation for premature babies in neonatal intensive care units (NICUs). The tentacles of these cute octopuses mimic the umbilical cord, offering a soothing and familiar sensation to the babies. Here’s a simple tutorial to create your own crochet preemie octopus.
- Worsted weight yarn in a soft and hypoallergenic material (such as cotton or acrylic)
- Crochet hook (size appropriate for your chosen yarn)
- Polyester fiberfill or soft stuffing material
- Yarn needle
- Safety eyes or yarn for embroidering eyes (make sure they are securely attached)
- ch: chain
- sc: single crochet
- inc: increase (2 single crochets in the same stitch)
- dec: decrease (single crochet decrease)
- sl st: slip stitch
Head and Body:
- Start with a magic ring (or ch 2 and work into the first ch) and make 6 sc into the ring. Pull the ring tight to close the hole. (6 stitches)
- Round 1: Inc in each stitch around. (12 stitches)
- Round 2: Sc in the next stitch, inc in the next stitch. Repeat from * to * around. (18 stitches)
- Round 3: Sc in the next 2 stitches, inc in the next stitch. Repeat from * to * around. (24 stitches)
- Rounds 4-8: Sc in each stitch around. (24 stitches)
- Round 9: Sc in the next 2 stitches, dec in the next stitch. Repeat from * to * around. (18 stitches)
- Round 10: Sc in the next stitch, dec in the next stitch. Repeat from * to * around. (12 stitches)
- Fill the head lightly with stuffing.
- Round 11: Dec in each stitch around. (6 stitches)
- Fasten off and weave in the yarn end.
Tentacles (Make 8):
- Leave a long starting tail for sewing.
- Ch 25.
- Starting in the second ch from the hook, sc in each ch across.
- Fasten off, leaving a long tail for sewing.
- Attach the safety eyes or embroider the eyes using yarn on the head of the octopus.
- Stuff the tentacles lightly with stuffing.
- Attach the tentacles evenly around the bottom edge of the head, using the long starting tails for sewing. Leave enough space between them.
- Weave in any remaining yarn tails.
Your crochet preemie octopus is now complete! Make sure all the parts are securely attached and that there are no loose yarn ends that could be a potential hazard. These octopuses can provide comfort to premature babies and their families during their stay in the NICU.
Remember, this is a basic pattern, and you can customize it by using different colors, adding embellishments, or adjusting the size of the octopus according to your preference. Always consider safety when adding any embellishments, and if you’re planning to donate these to a hospital, it’s a good idea to check their guidelines first.