So this week (last week of December 2018) I am two months in to my crochet journey! I have 37 squares completed towards my blanket and am slowly starting to appreciate the beauty of repetition. My squares are getting better, the tension is more even and I can crochet and watch TV at the same time! I was so pleased to upgrade my project from my recycled shopping bag to this beautiful tropical Waterproof Zipper Tote Bag from Brilliantmommy which now perfectly holds all my squares and yarn for all the colours in my blanket.
But something came along this month that has taken me away from my squares and into the world of amigurumi way earlier than I had planned (and has also been a perfect project for my Denim Marigold Zipper Pouch.
About a week before Christmas a friend forwarded me a Facebook plea for crocheted octopuses for premature babies. I am not a mother, but several friends have had premature babies and, along with my new found enjoyment of crocheting, this plea piqued my interest.
According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 15 million babies are born too early every year and are at risk for serious health issues including breathing problems, feeding difficulties and developmental delay. The soft tentacles of the crocheted octopuses apparently calm the babies (possibly reminding them of the umbilical cord in the womb) and often are less likely to pull out their monitors and tubes. https://edition.cnn.com/2017/02/27/health/premature-babies-crochet-octopus-nicu/index.html
For my first octopus I used the pattern supplied on the facebook page – my interpretation of the pattern was that the tentacles were to be made separately and sewn on. It was only after watching the Jacquis Preemie Pride video that I realised the entire octopus can be made as one item with absolutely no separate parts! To say that blew my mind was an understatement – party because I tend to rebel against patterns and – but mostly because of the joy of not having to fiddle with sewing the legs on!!
My favourite part of the pattern was watching the chain stitches curl into tentacles as a result of crocheting 2sc, 2sc, 3sc repeatedly along a chain of 35 stitches. My tentacles are a little wonky as I kept forgetting whether I had done 2sc or 3sc but personally I think it adds a little charm!
Over the course of three days I made a family of three octopuses adorned with flowers and hats. The flower was loosely based on a poppy pattern from The Spruce Crafts https://www.thesprucecrafts.com/easy-crochet-flower-patterns-978611 and the hats were my own creation. (Crochet 7sc onto a magic loop, crochet 2sc into each stitch and then sc into each stitch for several rows to make a tube. I then added the rim of the hat by doing 2sc into each stitch and then a sc into each stitch to widen the brim.)
I have to say I am a little addicted to making these octopuses and am definitely on the lookout for another amigurumi project soon, but in the meantime I am getting back to my blanket.
If you want to make an octopus (or a whole family of them) for donation to preemie babies here are a few things to note:
- These are for babies that are at the most vulnerable and at risk stage of their lives – please make sure you use 100% cotton (I used Nurturing Fibres Eco-Cotton).
- Make sure to keep the tentacles short – less than 8 inches stretched out is the recommended length to avoid them becoming a hazard.
- I am sending my Octopuses to the Vincent Pallotti Hospital in the Western Cape as that is where the Facebook plea came from but there are many hospitals closer to home that no doubt would be pleased to accept donations for their NICU babies. It’s probably worth finding out beforehand though.
* Briony Parsons (Liber) is the owner and founder at Briony Liber Coaching (www.brionyliber.com). She provides coaching to young professionals that want to explore and develop their behavioral competencies and broader personal and interpersonal business skills, to complement and support their technical capabilities.