Comfort a Preemie With a DIY Crochet Octopus
Crochet octopus toys are a fun project that can also comfort babies born prematurely. This adorable free octopus pattern is extra soft for snuggling and has twisting tentacles that babies can grab onto.
Of course, any child can enjoy this cuddly cephalopod toy, so prepare to make a few for friends and family too! Because the face is embroidered, you don't need to worry about small parts that aren't safe for young children.
There are lots of options for crochet octopus patterns, but this free pattern uses only basic stitches. If you can crochet a circle, you can make this toy.
Crochet Octopus Project Information
Easy to Intermediate (see note below)
Yarn: 1 skein of Bernat Pipsqueak yarn or approximately 75 yards of extra-soft bulky-weight blanket yarn.
1 yard of black worsted weight yarn.
Hook: H/5mm - this is one hook size down from the recommended hook for the yarn above.
Other Notions and Supplies: large tapestry needle, stitch marker, and stuffing.
Gauge is not important in this project, but you should be sure to crochet tight enough that the stuffing won't come through on the octopus body.
The specialty yarn recommended for this project is tricky to work with because it doesn't show the stitches very well. However, it also conceals any small mistakes, so don't worry about getting it perfect.
Start Crocheting the Tentacles
Make a slip knot with a 12-inch tail and ch 33.
Starting in the 2nd ch from the hook, work 2 sc in each stitch.
As you work across the row of stitches, the work will curl, creating the tentacle shape.
Crochet the Second Tentacle
When you reach the last stitch of the starting chain, ch 33.
Starting in the 2nd ch from the hook, work 2 sc in each stitch.
When you reach the end of the stitches, in the middle of the tentacle piece, work 1 sc into the last stitch of the first tentacle section. This helps secure the sections.
Cut the yarn, leaving a 12-inch tail, and pull the yarn through the last stitch to end off.
Finish the Tentacles
Make three more tentacle pieces so you have a total of four sets and eight legs altogether.
Set these aside.
Start Crocheting the Octopus Body
Crochet the front and back body pieces as you would a flat circle. The bulkiness of the yarn and the number of stitches causes these circles to form cupped shapes. If you use a different yarn, the results may vary. If the circles end up more flat, that's okay! It just makes your octopus a little less spherical.
Start the first octopus body piece with a magic circle. Each ch at the start of a round counts as a sc.
Tip: Place a stitch marker on the first chain so you can easily see the beginning of the round.
Round 1: 6 sc into the circle. Sl st to join.
Round 2: Ch 1. 1 sc into the first st. * 2 sc in next st. Rep from * to the end. Sl st to join. (12 sts)
Round 3: Ch 1. 2 sc into the next st. * 1 sc. 2 sc in next st. Rep from * to the end. Sl st to join. (18 sts)
Round 4: Ch 1. 1 sc. 2 sc into the next st. * (1 sc.) 2 times. 2 sc in next st. Rep from * to the end. Sl st to join. (24 sts)
Round 5: Ch 1. (1 sc.) 2 times. 2 sc into the next st. * (1 sc.) 3 times. 2 sc in next st. Rep from * to the end. Sl st to join. (30 sts)
Round 6: Ch 1. (1 sc.) 3 times. 2 sc into the next st. * (1 sc.) 4 times. 2 sc in next st. Rep from * to the end. Sl st to join. (36 sts)
Round 7: Ch 1. (1 sc.) 4 times. 2 sc into the next st. * (1 sc.) 5 times. 2 sc in next st. Rep from * to the end. Sl st to join. (42 sts)
Round 8: Ch 1. (1 sc.) 5 times. 2 sc into the next st. * (1 sc.) 6 times. 2 sc in next st. Rep from * to the end. Sl st to join. (48 sts)
End off the yarn.
Tip: Because it's difficult to see your stitches with this yarn, work by feel and instinct and let the yarn hide any small errors.
Finish the Octopus Body Pieces
Make a second octopus body piece, but don't end off the yarn. Leave your hook in place or hold the active loop with a stitch marker.
Weave in all the ends (except for the active yarn).
Stitch a Face on the Octopus
Thread the tapestry needle with black yarn and secure the other end on the back/inside of the front octopus body piece.
Embroider a simple face by stitching two satin stitch eyes and a chain stitch mouth.
Note: Chain stitch in embroidery is different from crochet.
Try not to pull the stitches too tight, which would pull at the crochet. Secure the end on the back by weaving through the stitches.
Join the Two Body Pieces
Hold the two octopus body pieces together so the face is right side up and the working yarn on the back piece is near the top.
Join the pieces together with slip stitch. Stop about 3/4 of the way around and hold the active loop with a stitch marker.
Attach the Tentacles
Thread the tapestry needle on one yarn tail from the first set of tentacles. Attach the tentacles to the bottom of the octopus body, stitching through the body and the tops of the tentacles. After three or four stitches, insert the needle into the body so you can secure the end inside. Leave the yarn loose for now.
Thread the tapestry needle on the second yarn tail from the first set of tentacles and repeat the process above. These extra stitches keep the tentacles secure.
It's easier to center the four sets of tentacles if you attach the first one almost directly in the center. Then work from that point as you add more sets.
Secure the Tentacle Yarn Ends
To secure the yarn ends, turn the octopus body almost inside out so you can work inside. Weave the long yarn ends through a few stitches, then tie the set of ends together with a tight knot. Trim the ends.
Repeat this as you add more tentacle sets.
Stuff the Octopus Toy
Continue slip stitching around the octopus body until you have about 1-1/2 inches left.
Fill the body piece with stuffing. Add the stuffing in small pieces for a nice round shape.
Slip stitch the opening closed. End off the yarn and weave in the tail.
Give Your Finished Octopus a Loving Home
Give this soft cephalopod to someone you know, or donate it to a local hospital or charity. Your crochet octopus is ready to comfort someone and give him or her lots of cuddles!
Remember to consider safety when providing handmade toys to babies and children. The legs on this octopus are good for preemies to hold, but they could be a choking hazard in cribs for older infants and toddlers. It's best to supervise play.