#Octopledge2018 Januarys Donation

Hello all! Its the end of the month and that means my first parcel has been sent off to Octopus For a Preemie.
I sent 6 little octopals in total – three flatties and 3 octos.

The bluey greeny one is Sirdar Cotton Prints. A beautiful variegated mercerised cotton. This colourway is called summer meadow. The pinky yellowy ones are made using King Cole Cottonsoft Crush in Rainbow Colour way. Its so marsmallowy and soft to work with! So here is how they did:

My very first attempt – the small Flattie in Sirdar Cotton Print (bottom center) PASSED and will be going to a Preemie.

The other two Flatties will be going to angel babies. They werent quite suitable for preemies as the tentacles were too long but other than that my co-ordinator Nicki tells me that the stitching was great.

As for the Octos, My first attempt (Top right) and my third attempt (top left) will be going to preemies. Again, the tentacles were a bit too long and on the yellowy pinky one there were a few holes where the stuffing can be seen through, so I just need to work a bit more on my tension. Finally the head of the yellowy pinky one was too big – which I think occured when I stuffed it as it was exactly 8cm tall before stuffing but grew past that mark after.

But the little octo (right in the middle) PASSED! Yahoo 🙂 I cant beleive that I managed not One but Two passes in my first go, and I am even more excited that my first ever attempt passed – gives me a real shot of confidence in my skills!
So what have I learnt?
First I have learnt that I need to give a bit of leeway in my measurements – all 4 that didnt pass had issues with tentacle length and one with its head size – I think all of these issues would have been resolves given a little leeway – Instead of chaining to the maximum tentacle length or crocheting to the maximum head height I should give it a centimeter or two’s growth room.
I have also learnt that my tension is pretty darn good – a surprise really given that I have never ever paid attention to my tension – not once in my life have I done a tension square before commencing a project. So to find my tension was only really a slight issue on 1 octo was really happy news.
The ladies were right – my co-ord told me that some of them were a little understuffed – this surprised me as I had stuffed them to the hardness of a tennis ball – I could not see how I could have fitted an more stuffing in. Now on the facebook a lot of the ladies stuff their octos and jellys and then leave them over night – then add a little more stuffing the next morning. They claim that octos eat stuffing over night. I didnt really believe them so just stuffed my octo as full as I could and sewed up the bum. But I guess they were right! A slap on the wrist for me!
If you want to get involved I really urge you to just do it. I have been sat on the sidelines for months looking but being too scared of how hard it would be. It can be quite overwhelming at the start to see all of these beautiful octos that people are making – the seasoned experts who make 20 or 30 a month and get passes every time! And it can feel like it must be really difficult – what with all the talk of passing and failing, all of the people getting stressed out about tension and holes and how tiny the stitches can be and how much they are struggling. What you should bear in mind is that everyone is a different skill levels and like everything in life somethings are easy and some are hard and you wont know until you try.
Let me know if you want to give it a go. I would love to see your attempts.
Until next time, Happy Hooking xx

My #Octopledge 2018

Hello all! 
So today I want to introduce you to a brilliant way of using your crochet and knitting skills for good. 

Many of you will have heard of Octopus for a Preemie UK, or will at least be aware of the idea of making octopusses for premature babies. But for those of you who are not here is a quick breakdown. 
NICU units often struggle with premature babies pulling out their tubes and canulas and such. Sometimes this can have really dangerous consequences. 
The octopus for a preemie idea was originally created in Denmark where researchers found that as well as reducing the risk of the babies pulling out their tubes and wires, it also calmed them, regulated their heartbeat a breathing etc. 
Octopus for a Preemie UK (you can find their website here) is a wonderful group of people who work hard crocheting away little octopals for preemies all across the uk, and I have just joined them. 
Over the course of this year I will be making an #Octopledge to make at least 2 a month. And I plan to make Bi Monthly updates on my progress as I learn and progress. 
So here are my first attempts… 

My first flattie – Made using Sirdar Cotton Prints in the Summer Meadow colour way. I made this one in my normal tension to see first home my standard way of doing things fayres. Its incredibly important that they are free of holes. 

And my second one. This time, I tried Yarn Under, a new technique to me. It takes some getting used to but is raved about by the other makers as it has less holes if you do it correctly. 

I have just started making a little octopus, using King Cole Cotton Crush.
I must say I love being able to yse varigated yarns in colours I mught normally steer away from.
Anyways, I hope to finish this octo and try out a jelly too. Then it will be off to the co-ordinator they go for inspection. 
I hope they do, but if they dont meet the safety standard to be sent to a premature baby (which is likely – most people dont succeed on their very first try) then dont worry. They dont go to waste – they go to angel babies as a sort of comfort for the parents. I have heard a very beautiful phrase whilst talking to other makers – no octo/jelly/flattie is a failure, they just have different journeys to make and different jobs to do. 
Anyways, Hopefully I will have more to show you by the end of the month. 
Happy Hooking xx