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As local paper the Bournemouth Echo reports, the crafty creatures will now be offered to all infants in the hospital's neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) – and the reason is as scientific as it is sweet...

Research has shown that crocheted tentacles remind little ones of their umbilical cords and being inside their mother's womb, which in turn helps them feel safe. The idea came from Denmark, where research showed that toy octopuses can calm babies, while squeezing their tentacles led to better breathing, more regular heartbeats and higher levels of oxygen in their blood. The babies were also less likely to pull on their monitors and tubes. 

However ~ Poole Hospital were keen to stress that, for safety considerations, donated octopuses should be made from 100% cotton, so that they can be washed at high temperatures for infection control.

Additionally, tentacles should be no longer than 22cm when extended for safety.

Donations can be sent to the maternity unit reception at Poole Hospital or to the reception at the Volunteer Centre HQ in Dorchester.

Crocheted Octo – British version

MATERIALS:

Crochet hook size 3 or 3,5 millimetre

Cotton yarn (100 percent cotton only), cotton 8/4 or 8/8 ( the reason for mentioning more options is that tightness is individual and to emphasize that it is perfectly fine to use leftover yarn.

Stuffing: Fibre filling – has to be washable at 60 degrees Celsius - Tapestry needle

Abbreviations:

Dc – double
Htc – half treble crochet
Tc – treble crochet
St – stitch
Sts - stitches
Ch – chain
Tg – together
Sl st – slip stitch
Yoh – yarn over hook

Body: working in continuous rounds:

1st round: 6 dc in a magic loop

2nd round: 2 dc in each st (12 sts in total)

3rd round: 2 dc in every other st, 1 dc in the other sts (18 sts in total)

4th round: 2 dc in every 3rd st, 1 dc in all other sts (24 sts)

5th round: 2 dc in every 4th st, 1 dc in all other sts (30 sts)

6th round: 2 dc in every 5th st, 1 dc in all other stitches (36 sts)

7th – 14th round: 1 dc in each st (36 sts each round)

15th round: *1 dc in the first 4 st, dc tg 5th and 6th st* repeat 5 times (30 sts remaining) 16th – 17th round: 1 dc in each st (30 sts)

18th round: *1 dc in each of 3 sts, dc tg 4th and 5th st* repeat 5 times (24 sts remaining) 19th-20th round: 1 dc in each st (24 sts)

21st round: *1 dc in first 2 sts, dc tg 3rd and 4th st* 

repeat 5 times (18 sts remaining) 22nd round: 1 dc in each st (18 sts)

23rd round: *1 dc in first 7 sts, dc tg 8th and 9th st * repeat once (16 sts remaining)

24th round: 1 dc in each st (16 sts)

25th round: this is where the tentacles starts: *1 dc, chain 50, turn, 2 or 3 dc in each chain (49 chains), 1 dc in next st of the body* repeat 7 times, making 8 tentacles. End with a sl st, cut yarn and sew in the end.

The tentacles must not be longer than 22 centimetres when drawn out the longest they can, as they may be a choking hazard if longer.

Bottom:

1st round: 5 dc in a magic ring

2nd round: 2 dc in each stitch (10 stitches)

3rd round: 2 dc in every other stitch, 1 dc in the other stitches (15 stitches) End with a sl st, cut yarn and sew in the end.

Eyes:

Crochet in single white yarn, make 2 (or embroider the eyes as you like)

1st round: 4 dc in a magic loop

2nd round: 2 dc in each st (8 sts)

3rd round: 2 dc in every other st, 1 dc in the other (12 sts) End with a sl st, cut yarn and sew in ends. Embroider pupils with black thread.

Assembling the octo

Stuff the body and sew the bottom on. Sew on the eyes (or embroider them on) and embroider a mouth using your preferred stitches.

Accessory inspiration

Purple flower/star:

1st round: ch 6, sl st in first st to make a ring

2nd round: ch 1, 10 dc in the ring, sl st in first dc to end round,

3rd round: ch 1, 1 dc in same st, *ch 3, miss 1 st, 1 dc in next st* repeat 4 times (last repeat ends with a sl st instead of a dc) Now there should be 5 loops

4th round: into the first loop: ch 1, 1dc, 1 htc, 1 tc, 1 htc, 1 dc. Repeat into the other 4 loops, in the last loop end with sl st instead of dc. Cut yarn and sew in ends

Green flower with 5 petals

1st round: ch 6, sl st into first st to form a ring

2nd round: ch 1, 10 dc into the ring, sl st in first dc to end round

3rd round: ch 1, 1 dc in same st, *ch 3, miss 1 st, 1 dc in next st* repeat 4 times (5 loops)

4th round: *ch 3, (yoh, hook through loop, yoh, draw up till same height as the ch 3, do this 4 more times (10 loops on hook), yoh, pull through all loops on the hook), ch 3, 1 dc in next st* repeat for each of the 4 remaining loops, end last repeat with sl st instead of dc, fasten of, cut yarn and sew in ends.

Hat:

1st round: 5 dc into a magic ring

2nd round: 2 dc in each st (10 sts)

3rd round: 2 dc in every other st, 1 dc in the rest (15 st)

4th-6th round: 1 dc in each st (15 sts)

7th round: 2 dc in each st (30 sts) sl st in first dc, fasten of, cut yarn and sew in ends

Stuff the hat a little bit and sew it onto the octo. Embroider the hat in 6th round with a double string yarn in contrasting colour and make a bow. Sew the bow securely to the hat to insure it does not loosen.

 click here for a booklet showing how this is created 

Donations can be sent to the maternity unit reception at Poole Hospital or to the reception at the Volunteer Centre HQ in Dorchester.

Admin User: 6th Jun 2017 10:20:00

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