Sunday, 1 November 2009

Aristotle the Octopus

Legs, 2 Needles
This pattern was improvised due to a lack of time and patience - all of the other (very cute) octopus patterns I could find required DPNs and knitting in the round, which was a technique I'd yet to master. A very intricate hour was spent learning to knit in the round with what I had to hand, namely DK yarn and 3mm DPNs, when it became obvious that a) this was going to result in a very tiny octopus that b) I'd managed to knit inside out (he was supposed to be stuffed on the needles). Some thinking and researching later, I managed to cobble together a 2 needle version - he's named Aristotle in honour of Pugsley Addams' pet octopus. Despite his shaky start, I hope you'll agree he's rather handsome. He's very easy and doesn't take long at all to knit.

DK weight yarn in colour of your choice - I estimate 50g will do (this barely made a dent in a 100g ball)
1x pair of 4mm needles
Yarn sewing needle
Buttons for eyes

k2tog = knit 2 stitches together
k1b = knit into back of stitch

CO 40
Row 1: k all
Repeat Row 1 until work measures approximately 2 inches
Begin decreases:
Row 1: k1, *k2tog, k8, repeat from * 3 times, k2tog, k7 (36 sts)
Row 2: k
Row 3: k1, *k2tog, k7, repeat from * 3 times, k2tog, k6 (32 sts)
Row 4: k
Row 5: k1, *k2tog, k6, repeat from * 3 times, k2tog, k4 (28 sts)
Row 6: k 
Row 7: k1, *k2tog, k5, repeat from * 3 times, k2tog, k3 (24 sts)
Row 8: k
Row 9: k1, *k2tog, k4, repeat from * 3 times, k2tog, k3 (20 sts)
Row 10: k
Row 11: k1, *k2tog, k3, repeat from * 3 times, k2tog, k2 (16 sts)
Row 12: k
Row 13: k1, *k2tog, k2, repeat from * 3 times, k2tog, k1 (12 sts)
Row 14: k
Row 15: k1, *k2tog, k1, repeat from * 3 times, k2tog (8 sts)

Cast off, leaving a long thread to use during finishing.  Stitch back edges together, leaving cast-on edge open (forming a little hat shape). Stuff well, hopefully achieving a spherical shape. Thread some yarn along the cast-off edge, like a 'drawstring'.  When happy with the amount of stuffing, pull string to close the body, and stitch shut. Add your eyes now if you like, or like I did, wait until the legs are attached to get an idea of how the little guy will look.

Legs (make 8 - preferably!)
CO 50 sts
Row 1: k1b
Row 2: k30, then k2tog for the last 20 sts (this makes his tentacles curl at the bottom to form little 'feet')
Cast off.

Similar to closing the body, I lined up the legs and threaded yarn through the top of each,forming a loop and then pulling tight to arrange legs in a fanned out circle.
Then I stitched to the bottom of the body  - any old how if I'm honest. I'm sure others could finish neater! I also added an optional loop to the top of Aristotle's head for dangling him from things.


This is the first pattern I've written up - if you want to try it out, I'd love to see the results! Also, any more experienced knitters out there,  do let me know if any improvements are needed to the pattern, or if my numbers are out or anything!


  1. Hey, I followed the link from here :) I'm so glad you came up with this pattern - I too suck royally at knitting with DPNs (the person on was right when they said it was like handling an unruly hedgehog! LOL)

    I'll probably post the results to my blog when I do one (I have some baby blankets to finish up first!), and I'll be sure to include the link to your pattern when I do :)

  2. Cute! And I actually like it inside out. How big is he?

  3. P.S. I found a little mistake! On the third row down of the head pattern, there should be 5 remaining stitches. And this affects the rest of the pattern. I'm having trouble visualizing how to put this head together, but I also don't have a yarn needle since I lost mine. I'll make it work.

  4. This project was so much fun! I was really pleased I didn't have to use circulars or double ended needles as I haven't been brave enough to venture into that territory just yet, but great to use stitches other than knit, purl and cable.
    I feel so much more confident after completing my octopus - it taught me a lot!
    Many thanks Aunty Nicky! xo

  5. Hey, I made a whole slough of these for a variety of people, on decently sized needles so they're rather squishy and I went all over the place with different leg lengths and curls.

    Also made a hat in the same style, using a basic toque pattern, in garter stitch, with 8 legs hanging from the hem. Turned out pretty awesome.

  6. Just finished knitting the body... I don't quite understand how to sew it together. Am i drawstringing the edge that I casted on with or the edge i casted off? Could you explain?

  7. This would be great with a tennis ball in the head! It would have bounch when little kids where playing with iy...

  8. I love this pattern and already did one and felted it which was fab! happy to email you a piccy!

  9. I made it, but I changed it to stockinette and made all the tentacles slightly different lengths and curls going in different directions.