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Under the sea: make a knitted octopus toy

Grab some leftover DK yarn from your stash and knit up Louise Walker's ink-redibly cute octopus.

Knitted octopus main

We’re suckers for adorable knitted toys and this sweet cephalopod has stolen our hearts.

Designed by Louise Walker, Inkie the octopus can be made with scraps of DK-weight yarn from your stash. He’s quick to make too – perfect for last-minute gift knitting!

Want to add more sea creatures to your collection? Check out issue 151 of Simply Knitting magazine for the patterns for Inkie’s friends Stevie the starfish and Wallie the whale. Get your digital edition today!

What to note before casting on our knitted octopus

Tentacles twitching to cast on? Jump to our shopping list for everything you need to get started.

We’ve used Gathered’s standard knitting abbreviations in this octopus knitting pattern, and UK terminology.

If you need to convert yarn weights from US to UK terms, check out our yarn weight conversion chart.

What tension should I use for the knitted octopus?

Tension is not crucial for toys, but to make sure your finished octopus measures around 15cm tall, and not significantly bigger or smaller, we recommend making a swatch before you begin. Read our advice on knitting tension squares to find out how it’s done.

The yarn we used knits as DK to this tension: 20 sts and 32 rows to measure 10x10cm (4x4in) over stocking stitch using 4mm needles.


You Will Need

  • 18g of Dark Blue DK yarn (Yarn A)
  • 10g of Light Blue DK yarn (Yarn B)
  • Small quantity of brown yarn for embroidering the mouth
  • Contrast scrap yarn
  • A pair of 4mm needles
  • A pair of 1.5cm diameter safety eyes
  • Toy stuffing
  • Pipe cleaners (optional)

Step 1

Create the octopus’s head

Ready to go? Let’s get kraken! Start by working the head, marking the positions of the eyes so you know where to attach the safety eyes later.

In this section, you’ll be increasing using kfb (knit front and back) and decreasing with k2tog (knit two together). If you’re not familiar with these, Gathered’s how to increase a stitch in knitting and how to decrease in knitting guides will tell you everything you need to know.

Cast on 6 stitches (sts) using 4mm needles and Yarn A.
Row 1 Right Side (RS) Knit.
Row 2 and all following Wrong Side (WS) rows Purl.

Row 3 Knit front and back (kfb) across all sts. [12 sts]
Row 5 *Kfb, K1; rep from * to end. [18 sts]
Row 7 *Kfb, K2; rep from * to end. [24 sts]
Row 9 *Kfb, K3; rep from * to end. [30 sts]

Rows 11–14 Work in stocking stitch (st st).

Row 15 K30, placing the scrap yarn stitch markers on the 13th and 17th stitches – this indicates the eyes’ positions.

Rows 17–24 Beginning with a RS knit row, work in st st.

Row 25 *K1, knit two together (k2tog); repeat (rep) from * to end. [20 sts]
Row 27 K4, (kfb, K3) 4 times. [24 sts]

Step 2

Give your knitted octopus its legs

Next you need to divide your knitting to create the octopus’s legs. You’ll be working on a few stitches at a time, so make sure you have stitch holders handy to hold the remaining stitches.

Row 29 Kfb, K1, kfb, turn, placing rem 21 sts on a stitch holder.

Continue on 5 sts on the needles as follows:
Row 30 Purl.
Rows 31–50 Work in st st.
Row 51 Slip 1 stitch, knit 1 stitch, pass slipped stitch over (skpo), K1, k2tog. [3 sts]
Row 53 Knit.
Row 55 K1, k2tog. [2 sts]

Change to Yarn B.
Row 57 K1, kfb. [3 sts]
Row 59 (Kfb) twice, K1. [5 sts]
Rows 61–82 Work in st st.
Row 83 Skpo, K1, k2tog. [3 sts]
Place these 3 sts on a second stitch holder to be worked later.

Take the 21 sts from row 29 and place next 3 sts back on working needle.
Rep rows 29–83 to form the second leg and place the final 3 sts onto the second holder. Make sure the legs are not twisted when placing onto the holder.

Rep rows 29–83 a further 6 times until eight legs are formed.
Place the now 24 sts on the second holder back onto the working needle and rejoin Yarn A.

More aquatic craft ideas


Hook up some under-sea pals for your cephalopod with our octopus and mermaid crochet patterns.


free mermaid crochet pattern and octopus crochet pattern

Step 3

Join the legs together

Your octopus needs a bottom to sit on, so making this is the next step. Rejoin your knitting under the legs by working three rounds of decreases. Instead of casting off as normal, you’ll thread your working yarn through the remaining stitches and pull it tight.

Continue in Yarn A to end.

Row 1 *K1, k2tog; rep from * to end. [16 sts]
Row 3 (K2tog) across. [8 sts]
Row 5 (K2tog) across. [4 sts]

Cut the yarn and thread it through a tapestry needle, then thread through the remaining 4 sts and pull tightly to finish. Weave in all loose ends.

Step 4

Sew up your cephalopod

Now it’s time to sew the pieces together and bring Inkie to life.

We’ve used safety eyes for our knitted octopus, but you can embroider them using a scrap of black yarn if you prefer. Use embroidered eyes if the toy is for a younger child.

To give your octopus bendy legs, insert a pipe cleaner into each leg before you sew it up.

Place each toy eye on the scrap yarn markers added at row 15. Secure into place with the washers and then remove the markers.

Use the brown yarn to embroider a small smile just beneath the right eye, using the picture as a guide.

Using mattress stitch and Yarn A, sew from the cast-on edge down to the leg split. Stuff the body with a small handful of polyester toy stuffing.

Place each leg together with WS facing in and seam with mattress stitch. Once the legs are sewn up, and if required, add more stuffing. Then sew up the rejoined underneath part and weave in loose ends.

Knitted octopus main

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Gift it or keep it?

We hope you’ve had a kraken time creating our adorable knitted octopus. Little toys are so satisfying and quick to knit, and a bit addictive too. You’ll have a whole collection before you know it! It’s a good job they also make great gifts – if you can bear to part with them.

Knit more nautical toys with Gathered

Take your handmade toys to the next level by making a cuddly knitted doll. For more seafaring adventures why not knit your octopus a friend with our pirate toy knitting pattern?