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Crafting For A Cause: Octopus For A Preemie

We know how much you love using your craft for a cause and Octopus for a Preemie is one that has taken the knitting and crochet world by storm. As we grow closer to the organisation's one year anniversary, we found out more about the charity itself, how you can get involved and why your support makes such a difference.

Crafting For A Cause: Octopus For A Preemie

What it’s all about

Tiny babies born prematurely are being comforted in hospital by crocheted and knitted octopuses which can help them feel safe and reassured. The tentacles resemble the umbilical cords so that the babies are calmer and do not pull on the cables or pipes in the hospital. Volunteers are obliged to maintain cleanliness, although the octopuses are washed in the hospital, the charity asks that they are not stained, with no traces of hair or fur and do not smell of cigarettes. The patterns are free to download and a number of yarn brands and online shops have donated yarn or given discounts to those producing projects for this cause, including TB Ramsden, Purple Sheep Yarns, Three Bears Yarn and Wool Warehouse.

We spoke to group admin, George Sutherland to find out more…

Can you explain how Octopus for a Preemie started?

Octopus for a Preemie began in the UK almost a year ago as a small group who had found out about the benefits of the octopuses and wanted to bring them to babies in the UK. At first we just sent them to parents who requested them. Our first hospital got involved in October 2016, and it’s grown from there!

What inspired you to move forward with the cause that has now spread across the country?

Lots of our members have a passion for knitting and crochet and a love of helping others, which is a great combination. To work for this charitable group and help out other parents is amazing. Some have just heard about the cause and got on board, after all, who wouldn’t want to help the delicate preemies? We have been overwhelmed with the response from the knitting and crochet community, people who have never picked up needles or a hook and learnt just to help out. All of our makers are treasured and we are always looking for more knitters and crocheters to join our lovely Facebook group family.

What is the response of the recipients?

The parents are always really grateful for the hard work a stranger has put in to help them out at such a difficult time. The nurses are overjoyed every month when their octos are delivered, and the preemie babies love to hold on tight to the tentacles.

What is the most rewarding part of your work?

Apart from parents seeing how much the octopuses help their babies, it’s the amazing response we get from hospital staff on how calm the babies are, and that they leave their tubes and wires alone when they have an octopus to hold on to. 

Do you have any plans to expand your services for the year ahead?

Over the last few months we have taken on more than 50 hospitals and it would be great to supply octos to even more hospitals across the UK so no preemie goes without. If we continue to grow it would be lovely to do even more to help these babies.

If you’d like to get involved with Octopus for a Preemie,  join the Facebook group and you can download the free octopus patterns here.

Interested in finding out about other charities you can craft for? Check out Woolly Hugs .

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