Wellness Day: Knitting with a Purpose

In light of Forest Arts' Sit, Knit and Stitch going online and to help celebrate Wellness Day, the Forest Knitters have come up with a fun knitting task. This one is suitable for people with a basic understanding of knitting.

Did you know: you can join Sit, Knit and Stitch (online) every Wednesday at 10am via Zoom, check out our website to sign up and have a natter!

Knitting With a Purpose: Octopuses for premature babies 🐙

Knitting is great for dexterity, keeps your mind sharp and is really relaxing! Follow the pattern below to make your own Octopus, and once you are done you can either keep it or donate it to a local maternity hospital. ❤️

"The Octopuses started when hospitals said that premature babies would hang on to the tentacles because of their similarity to the umbilical cord. This pattern makes a size suitable to be put in the incubator, but by changing to thicker yarn and larger needles, they can be made any size. No limits."

-Ros, Forest Arts Knitting Club.

Needed materials (all can be found online):

  1. 50g 4ply cotton yarn
  2. 3/2.75mm knitting needles (UK size 11/12)
  3. Embroidery thread
  4. White sewing thread
  5. Toy stuffing
  6. 5cm wide stretchy tubular bandage  (also available at chemists.)

The finished product dimensions for the body will be 6cm tall, 15cm circumference and approx. 9cm for the coiled tentacles.

The process

This will be made as one piece so it is recommended that you leave a good length of yarn at the start and finish for sewing up.


Cast on 8 stitches.

Row 1: (and every alternate row) Purl

Row 2 : Increase in every stitch  (16 stitches)

Row 4 : (K1, increase in next stitch) to end  (24 stitches)

Row 6 : (K2, increase in next stitch) to end  (32 stitches)

Row 8:  (K3, increase in next stitch) to end  (40 stitches)

Starting with a Purl row, stocking stitch 13 rows.

Next row :  (K3, k2tog) to end  (32 stitches)

Work 3 rows in stocking stitch.

Next row:  (K2,k2tog) to end  (24 stitches)

Next row:   Purl

Next row: (K1.k2tog) to end  (16 stitches)

Next row:   Purl

Next Row:  (K2tog) to end  (8 stitches)

Purl the next row.


The 8 remaining stitches form the start of the tentacles.

First Tentacle:

Using the first stitch only and a two needle cast on method, cast on a further 82 stitches (83 stitches)

Knit one row on these stitches.

Next row. P1, (p3tog) to the last stitch, p1. 29 stitches.

Cast off all these 29 stitches leaving the final stitch on the needle.  

Knit the next stitch left from the base of the body and use it to cast off the final stitch of the tentacle. You will have six stitches left at the base of the body and one stitch on the right-hand needle. Be careful not to break the yarn.

Second Tentacle:

Cast on 82 stitches (like the first tentacle) and complete the tentacle as before.

Complete the other six tentacles in the same manner thus using all the remaining body stitches.

Once all tentacles are finished you can cut the yarn  (leaving approximately 25 cms for sewing up) and pull through.


Use the thread from the cast on edge and gather the top of the head tightly, fasten off but do not cut the yarn - use this to continue sewing down the back seam to approximately halfway down the head.  

Fasten off and cut the yarn.


Cut a length of the tubular bandage slightly longer than the length of the body.

Using sewing thread, gather up and close one end of the tube, fastening off securely.

Turn the tube inside out so the gathered end is on the inside and then stuff with the toy stuffing. This should be enough to give a rounded shape but still be soft and squidgy.

Close the end up by folding the tubing over in little pleats and sewing in place so securing the stuffing in place and maintaining the shape.

Now gently feed this into the body.

With the yarn left attached after completing the tentacles, gather in the base of the body, snagging in any loose stitches where the tentacles have been knitted on to the body, and then complete by sewing up the remaining open back seam.

Fasten off securely, hiding the end of the yarn within the body.

Using the embroidery thread, give the octopus a friendly face.

Take a photo of your octopus, post it on social media and tag Forest Arts Centre on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. You can also check out more Wellness Day activities on Culture on Call here. Enjoy!

If you have enjoyed Culture on Call and you are able to make a donation, any support you can give will help us keep people connected.

This article was written by:
Author image

Jasmine Taylor

Community Programme Coordinator at Forest Arts Centre in charge of Classes, Workshop and Community Outreach projects to engage and enrich the local New Milton Community.
You've successfully subscribed to Culture on Call
Great! Next, complete checkout for full access to Culture on Call
Welcome back! You've successfully signed in.
Success! Your account is fully activated, you now have access to all content.