· What kind of yarn can I use for making the octopuses?
The hospitals only accept octopuses made with 100% cotton yarn (the best choice is 120-180 meters/50 gramm) – if an octopus is made with acrylic yarn little fibers might appear which could get into the children’s eyes and mouth and cause harm.
· Where can I find the patterns?
The patterns are all available in the files section in our Facebook group.
· Is my octopus too big or too small?
The octopuses should be smaller than we could think. Premature babies very often lie among different tubes and equipment in small incubators which is why the octopus comforters have to be so small. The size of the octopus’s head should be 3.5-8cm long and have a minimum diameter of 3.5cm. Tentacles should be 10-16cm long for octopuses with heads 3.5-5cm long and 16-22cm long for octopuses with heads 5-8cm long.
· What type of filling should be used?
Synthetic filling (silicone ball) which can be washed in 60⁰C. Stuffing octopuses with cottonwool or ends of yarn is not accepted (this type of filling forms lumps after washing). Remember to stuff the octopus full so that it saves its shape after washing.
· Is using of safe eyes, buttons or beads safe?
We recommend crochet or embroidered eyes or leaving the faces blank. Do not use any safe eyes or buttons etc.
· Can I put a rattle/ a bell into the octopus?
A bell/ a rattle must not to be put into the octopus. Premature babies need calmness the most. The octopus is not a toy and is not designed for play but as a comforter and sensory aid with medical benefits.
· Who is responsible for washing the octopuses?
Every mom gets the instruction how the octopus should be washed (60⁰C using antiallergic washing liquid). The person making the octopus does not have to wash it.
· What to do when tentacles are not twisted much?
It does not matter how much tentacles are twisted. Moreover it is better when tentacles are twisted only a little bit otherwise it can be too thick for little fingers to catch. For the safety reasons it is very important the stretched tentacles are not longer than 22cm.
· Can I add things to my octopuses or decorate them or should I just leave them blank?
Many pictures of the octopuses show that people who make them decorate their projects in interesting way. Such kind of creativity is very appreciated but it is important to remember that the primary purpose of this group is to help the babies and so based on feedback from a number of hospitals on this, for a variety of reasons we have decided to make a rule that the head must be made in one colour and that the legs can be made in a different colour to the head. Variegated yarn or changing colour because you have run out of one colour is perfectly fine but we ask that you don’t do patterning or striping with colour changes.
We also ask that you don’t add hats or other accessories as these are frequently not attached securely but if you wish to add anything to your octopus then there is a pattern for a tiny bow in the files.
· Are there any colours which I should avoid?
We ask that you avoid making octopuses out of solid red or black colours, as red can be mistaken for blood or make it difficult for nurses to see whether babies are bleeding and black can overstimulate the babies.
· Do hospitals choose the octopuses on their own?
No. The coordinators are responsible for collecting and delivering the octopuses to the hospitals. After delivery of the octopuses every neonatal branch divides them between the premature babies.
· Is it possible to buy or order the octopus?
Unfortunately it is not possible. We are the group of volunteers who crochet the octopuses for premature babies being in the hospitals located in the UK.
We do not sell the octopuses.
· Is my octopus crocheted too loose or too tightly?
It is very important not to crochet too loose not to lose the filling. The stitch should not create any little holes especially after stuffing the octopus. Every part of the octopus should be firmly sewn. Any loose yarn ends should not be visible.
· Who should I contact when I have a question related to sending of the octopuses?
Please send an e-mail to the organiser of the action (firstname.lastname@example.org) or find the coordinator assigned to the nearest hospital in your area by asking on facebook on our fan page or in our group below: