I can't say that I've ever felt the desire to hug an actual octopus, but a stuffed one has a distinct appeal: eight embracing arms! With such magnanimity, a Knit Octopus makes a pretty sweet companion!

What I didn't know about designing an octopus was that it would put me on a deep-sea exploration of knitting's inherent intelligence. Knitting, like the ocean itself, answers to an inscrutable essence, part natural law and part mystery. Bound by the mathematics of eight, this Knit Octopus practically created itself, and so to me, the result feels magically inevitable.

And for mathematical magic there's nothing better than the purity of warm white. Blue Sky's Sport Weight Alpaca in Natural White brings a lovely serenity and simplicity to the Knit Octopus, while the wonderful softness of 100% baby alpaca (doubled!) brings us back to all that hugging I was talking about. Get all six skeins of alpaca, plus stuffing and scrap yarn for the eyes, all in one place with our Materials for Knit Octopus kit!

I hope, like me, that when you create your Knit Octopus you feel a little bit like the Jacques Cousteau of knitting, probing the fathomless world of knits and purls, learning a little something along the way! -Whitney

 

The Materials

 

Our Materials for Knit Octopus kit includes...

  • 6 skeins of Blue Sky's Sport Weight Alpaca - Solids, 100% baby alpaca. This color is Natural White. PLEASE NOTE: This pattern uses just about all of the 6 skeins. So if you're worried about running out of yarn, please buy an extra skein. You can exchange it if you don't end up needing it (click right here for Purl Soho's return policy).
  • A 12-ounce bag of Fairfield's Poly-Fil stuffing

You'll also need...

The Pattern

Gauge

4 1/2 stitches = 1 inch in stockinette stitch, with the yarn doubled

Finished Size

Circumference around widest part of Body: 20 1/2 inches

Height of Body: 7 1/2 inches

Length of each Arm: 10 inches

Note

You will use the Sport Weight Alpaca doubled throughout this pattern. The easiest way to do this is to pull from two balls at once.

The Body

Using two strands of the Sport Weight Alpaca, cast 6 stitches onto the double pointed needles.

Join for working in the round, being careful to not twist the stitches.

Round 1: Knit into front and back (kfb) 6 times. (12 stitches)

Round 2: *K1, kfb, repeat from * to end of round. (18 stitches)

Round 3: *K2, kfb, repeat from * to end of round. (24 stitches)

Round 4: Knit.

Round 5: *K3, kfb, repeat from * to end of round. (30 stitches)

Round 6: Knit.

Round 7: *K4, kfb, repeat from * to end of round. (36 stitches)

Round 8: Knit.

Round 9: *K5, kfb, repeat from * to end of round. (42 stitches)

Round 10: Knit.

Round 11: *K6, kfb, repeat from * to end of round. (48 stitches)

Round 12: Knit.

Round 13: *K7, kfb, repeat from * to end of round. (54 stitches)

Rounds 14 and 15: Knit.

Round 16: *K8, kfb, repeat from * to end of round. (60 stitches)

Rounds 17 and 18: Knit.

Round 19: *K9, kfb, repeat from * to end of round. (66 stitches)

Rounds 20 and 21: Knit.

Changing to the 16-inch circular needle...

Round 22: *K10, kfb, repeat from * to end of round. (72 stitches)

Rounds 23-25: Knit.

Round 26: *K11, kfb, repeat from * to end of round. (78 stitches)

Rounds 27-29: Knit.

Round 30: *K12, kfb, repeat from * to end of round. (84 stitches)

Knit for 2 1/2 inches.

Next Round: *K12, k2tog, repeat from * to end of round. (78 stitches)

Knit 2 rounds.

Next Round: *K11, k2tog, repeat from * to end of round. (72 stitches)

Knit 4 rounds.

Next Round: *K11, kfb, repeat from * to end of round. (78 stitches)

Knit 1 round.

Next Round: *K12, kfb, repeat from * to end of round. (84 stitches)

Knit 1 round.

Next Round: *K13, kfb, repeat from * to end of round. (90 stitches)

Knit 1 round.

Next Round: *K14, kfb, repeat from * to end of round. (96 stitches)

Set the Body aside without cutting the yarn.

The First Arm

With the yarn doubled, cast 6 stitches onto three double pointed needles.

Join for working in the round, being careful to not twist the stitches.

Round 1: Knit.

Round 2: K1, make 1 left (m1l), knit to end of round, make 1 right (m1r). (8 stitches)

Round 3: K4, p1, knit to end of round.

Round 4: K1, m1l, k3, p1, knit to end of round, m1r. (10 stitches)

Rounds 5 and 6: K4, p1, k1, p1, knit to end of round.

Round 7: K1, m1l, k4, p1, knit to end of round, m1r. (12 stitches)

Round 8: K6, p1, knit to end of round.

Round 9: K5, p1, k1, p1, knit to end of round.

Round 10: K1, m1l, k4, p1, k1, p1, knit to end of round, m1r. (14 stitches)

Rounds 11 and 12: K5, (p1, k1) 2 times, p1, knit to end of round.

Round 13: K6, p1, k1, p1, knit to end of round.

Round 14: K1, m1l, k5, p1, k1, p1, knit to end of round, m1r. (16 stitches)

Rounds 15 and 16: K6, (p1, k1) 2 times, p1, knit to end of round.

Round 17: K5, (p1, k1) 3 times, p1, knit to end of round.

Round 18: K1, m1l, k4, (p1, k1) 3 times, p1, knit to end of round, m1r. (18 stitches)

Rounds 19 and 20: K7, (p1, k1) 2 times, p1, knit to end of round.

Round 21 and 22: K6, (p1, k1) 3 times, p1, knit to end of round.

Repeat Rounds 19-22 until piece measures 10 inches from the tip, stuffing the Arm lightly as you go. End 5 stitches before the end of a Round 20. Cut a 12-inch tail.

Slip the next 11 stitches onto one double pointed needle and arrange the remaining 7 stitches onto another double pointed needle.

Now weave in the cast on tail to encourage the slight curl at the tip of the Arm. Weave the tail up the center stitch of the stockinette side.

And weave it back down toward the tip to secure.

Attach Arm to Body

Returning to the Body, knit 12 stitches.

**Flip the Body over so the circular needle is on the bottom and the knitting is on the top.

With wrong sides facing each other, hold the double pointed needle with 11 stitches parallel to the left-hand circular needle.

Using the 12-inch tail from the Arm, work Kitchener Stitch to graft the 11 stitches of the Arm to the next 11 stitches of the Body. (There will be one stitch from the Body remaining. Leave it on the circular needle.)

Put the Arm's remaining 7 stitches on a piece of scrap yarn.

Flip the Body over again and with the right side facing you, knit the next 12 stitches.

Set the Body aside.

More Arms

*Knit another Arm identical to the first.

To attach it to the Body, repeat from ** of the Attach Arm to Body section.

Repeat from * until you have made and attached a total of eight Arms (Do not knit 12 stitches after attaching the final Arm).

You should now have 8 stitches on the circular needle, one between each Arm. Make sure the end-of-the-round marker is still in place.

The Bottom

Now working with the circular needle and the yarn that is still attached to the Body...

Round 1: Pick up 1 stitch from between the last Arm attached and the next stitch on the needle. The red dot in this photo shows you where.

*Purl the next stitch, then pick up 1 stitch from between the stitch you just purled and the next Arm.

Slip the 7 stitches from the next Arm onto the left end of the circular needle. Remove the scrap yarn.

Working those 7 stitches, (p1, k1) 3 times, p1. Then pick up 1 stitch between the last stitch purled and the next stitch on the needle.

Repeat from * to the end of the round, finishing with the 7 stitches of the eighth Arm. (80 stitches)

Round 2: *K1, p1, repeat from * to end of round.

Now is a good time to even out any tension issues from grafting on the Arms and to weave in the remaining ends.

Round 3: *(P1, k1) 3 times, p2tog, k2tog, repeat from * to end of round. (64 stitches)

Changing to the double pointed needles...

Round 4: *P1, k1, repeat from * to end of round.

Rounds 5 and 6: Repeat Round 2.

Stuff the Body so it is nice and plump, and keep adding stuffing as you finish.

Round 7: (P1, k1) 2 times, p2tog, k2tog, repat from * to end of round. (48 stitches)

Rounds 8-10: Repeat Rounds 4-6.

Round 11: P1, k1, p2tog, k2tog, repeat from * to end of round. (32 stitches)

Rounds 12-14: Repeat Rounds 4-6.

Round 15: *P2tog, k2tog, repeat from * to end of round. (16 stitches)

Knit 2 rounds.

Next Round: K2tog 8 times. (8 stitches)

Cut a 12-inch tail and thread it through the remaining stitches. Then sew the tail through the center of the Bottom up to the top center of the Body, causing the center Bottom to pull in a little bit. Weave in the tail.

The Eyes

Using a tapestry needle and scrap yarn (I doubled a scrap of Blue Sky Sport Weight Alpaca's Natural Light Gray), backstitch a sleeping eye onto the Body, a few rounds above the first round of decreases.

Make another eye to match the first.

Give your octopus a squeeze and you're all done!