What is a twiddlemuff?
They’re a double-thick knitted muff with items attached so that a patient with dementia can twiddle in their hands. It might sound funny, but they can actually be a godsend for anxious patients, helping to quieten their mind and provide comfort and distraction. People with dementia can often have restless hands, so these can really help.
Why make one?
People with dementia often have restless hands and like to have something to keep their hands occupied. It provides a wonderful source of visual, tactile and sensory stimulation and at the same time keeping hands snug and warm. Making one to donate is a great way to use up scraps of wool and fabric, and with an added feel-good factor!
The best part is, you don't even need to be a good knitter as they are actually very simple to make and it's hard to get it wrong. Add anything from wool to buttons, beads to zips or ribbons, each one can be different. Just make sure that all the attachments are sewn on firmly.
How to make a twiddlemuff
A selection of leftover and odd balls of wool.
Needles: 8mm circular or 6.5mm straight needles
Cast on 45 stitches using 2 strands of double knitting wool or 1 strand of chunky wool (one plain colour works best). Work in stocking stitch (knit a row, purl a row)
for 11 inches.
Continue with stocking stitch, but use up oddments of various textures of wool such as chunky, mohair,ribbon etc until the work measures 23 inches (two strands of double knit for two rows each gives a lovely assortment of colours). Cast off.
If working with straight needles, lightly iron the long strip, then neatly join the sides together using edge to edge stitch (with the knit side facing out). Turn inside out and push the one colour cuff up inside the muff body. Sew the two ends together, again using a neat edge to edge stitch.
Now you can decorate the muff, inside and out, with ribbons, beads,flowers, zips, loops, pompoms, buttons, etc. Knit a separate pocket for a favourite photo or a hanky. Be creative, but make sure each item is securely attached!
Where to donate twiddlemuffs:
Many local hospitals, councils and organisations are currently collecting Twiddlemuffs so it's worth contacting your local services to find out of they're looking for donations.
If not, the organisations below are taking donations:
Devon & Exeter:
C/o Health Information Centre
Royal Devon and Exeter NHS Foundation Trust
Exeter EX2 5DW
Forest of Dean:
Community Engagement Officer
Forest of Dean District Council
Glos. GL16 8HG
Co/ Corporate Nursing Department
Warrington WA5 1Q