I was really excited to come across the Facebook page for OFAPNZ a couple of weeks ago. Back in April of last year I published my first post about the Octopus for a Preemie movement (see “Octopuses (Octopi?) For Premature Babies”). I did a bit of experimenting with the patterns I found (see “Two Jumpers and an Octopus” and “Another Octopus and some Scarves”), but had not pursued this project further as I had not found a local contact. OFAPNZ (Octopus for a Preemie NZ) is that contact and I have already been in touch with the lady organising it.
Dawn Harpur is enthusiastic, generous, and cheerfully admits to being addicted to making her “Octopals”. Not only has she given me permission to use some of her photos here, but she has very kindly donated a ball of 4 ply cotton yarn to me so that I can get started on my first Octopal. This is actually posing a bit of a problem for me as it is VERY tempting, but I ABSOLUTELY MUST get my Christmas projects finished before I give in!
I have been referring to Octopals rather than Octopuses because Dawn has patterns for Jellyfish and a “flat” Octopus as well as the original ones. These patterns are available free on the OFAPNZ Facebook page but you must respect her conditions of use which are (quote):
“This pattern belongs to ‘Octopus for a Preemie NZ’ for the purpose of making the Octopus to be donated to Octopus for a Preemie New Zealand for premature babies and are not to be sold for profit. Please send donations to OFAPNZ, PO Box 728, Cambridge where they will need to be checked for materials and size, this is very very important!”
Dawn also has tips for how to get the best results, including using the YU (yarn under) technique, and invisible increasing and decreasing. I am really looking forward to trying these out and to getting started on my first Octopal. I will keep you posted but encourage you to check out Dawn’s lovely FB page in the meantime.