The members of Mullingar’s ‘Happy Hookers’ crochet group have been very busy recently making octopuses for premature babies.
Recent studies suggest that when premature babies hold a crochetted octopus their stress levels go down as tentacles resemble an umbilical chord and the experience reminds them of their time in the womb.
In recent months, the members of Happy Hookers have crochetted 50 of the octopuses for the support group Octopus for Preemie ROI and Northern Ireland, which supplies them to hospitals and families across the country.
Speaking to the Westmeath Examiner, crochet teacher Sinead Mahon said the project tested the group’s members as the octopuses had to be made to very specific requirements to ensure that they were suitable for their young recipients.
“There are a lot of criteria that have to be adhered to. One of the girls in the group inspected them and then put them into little packets. It is really beautiful making the octopuses. If you have some that are a little too big or fat they go to angel babies [stillborn babies].”
Happy Hooker Yvonne Keaney said that she and her colleagues found the process of making the octopuses very rewarding. Like a number of her fellow Happy Hookers, Yvonne was a lapsed crochetter for a long time and only took up her crochet hook again in recent years. Crafts such as crochetting experienced a revival during the recession and the advent of social media sites such as Facebook and Pinintrest have helped enthusiasts swap patterns and share tips.
Yvonne says that the group, which meets every Thursday in the Congress Centre, has members of all skill levels. All you need to join is an interest in crochetting.
“Everyone is welcome, whether they are newcomers to crochetting or experienced.”