Many of you know by now that I tend to help – I already wrote about my work as a volunteer translator a while back. I found a new project that I am psyched about quite recently: octopuses for preemies.
Many premature babies lie in the incubator and / or are hooked to machines that rattle, peep and clatter constantly. After the time they spent in the womb they are suddenly exposed to a blinding world of loud noises and – depending on the condition of the newborn – Mommy and Daddy aren’t even allowed much time for tender loving care. Everything is unknown to them and a friend wouldn’t be too bad right now.
That is what the octopuses are for. Their curly arms remind the babies of the umbilical cord and they can be at least a stead and loyal hold to them. Also, the baby will be less in danger of being tangled in or unplugging the cords of the machines when it clutches to the stuffed animal. The octopuses are being crocheted and given away by volunteers nearly world wide by now – completely free, just wanting to help.
The project originates in Denmark after doctors found out that preemies with an octo-friend showed improvements in breathing, heartrate and oxygen. The Spruttegruppen (the Danish founding project) works with hospitals to supply the preemies with unique eight-armed friends, that they can take home with them.
Unfortunately there is no group in Germany – the strict conditions make it very hard to get through with it. BUT I crochet for the Austrian group. We are in contact via a Facebook-Group to coordinate our shipments and to show each other our octopuses for inspiration and motivation. Here is a list of the participating groups and coutries.
If you want to help; there are several ways: like Spruttegruppens Facebook page, tell friends who can crochet or – the best way – make an octopus yourself. There is no pressure at all if you join a group – you can start with getting informed and then think about whether you actually want to crochet one or not. If it works out for you or not is not that important – it’s the thought that counts.
You can find the unified and official patterns here and there is a German pattern in the German version of this post (just click on the German flag above to change language). Please note that these patterns are not intended for commerical purposes whatsoever, that would do damage to the project. You are free to do whatever you want in terms of decoration and colour, but not all wool and stuffing is suitable. If you have questions I am happy to help, or just get in contact with your local group, they can give you exact details on the local conditions which might differ from country to country.
I made two octo-friends so far, but my fingers are completely sore now and I’ll have to give them some rest for a few days.
We’d be happy to have you working with us! :)