Have you heard of a twiddlemuff? These simple-to-make knitted hand muffs are helping dementia patients up and down the country, but more are needed to help stimulate patients with dementia maintain and build brain pathways and dexterity. You can help create these useful therapeutic accessories using our How to make a Twiddlemuff tutorial with our twiddle muff pattern. But really, any bit of fabric with different textures and additions makes a decent twiddle muff – you don’t always need a twiddle muff pattern to make a twiddle muff. But try our How to make a twiddle muff tutorial for ideas and inspiration on making the most of your yarn scraps and crafty notions in this worthwhile charity knit.
Twiddlemuffs are knitted muffs with interesting bits and bobs attached. Many patients with Alzheimer’s, arthritis and dementia find them comforting and therapeutic as they help encourage movement and brain stimulation. They should be appealing to hold and touch, with different textures and additions that can be explored with both the hands and with the eyes. The above twiddle muff pattern uses a mix of basic knit and purl rows to create different raised section on the muff, with some eyelets added to thread a ribbon through for added stimulation. Blanket-stitch-edged knitted patches decorate the twiddle muff pattern, as do different buttons and charms.
Ideally the twiddle muff pattern should have a hole at each end so that the twiddle muff is like a tube that patients can put their hands into and have resting on their laps, like a standard muff would. This makes it appealing and cost for the patient. Tactile fluffy or loopy yarns are a great addition when you are considering how to make a twiddlemuff – as you can see in the twiddlemuff below, which has a section at one end worked in eyelash yarn to act as a point of difference to be explored and discovered by the patients. Different shapes of button and charm are another great accessory to your twiddle muff pattern, as long as they are securely attached and cannot be removed – anything that can be stroked, pulled, prodded or fidgeted with make a perfect addition to any twiddle muff pattern, as long as they will not break and are not sharp to the touch.
Nurses at Warrington and Halton Hospitals promoted the use of twiddlemuffs as part of their Forget Me Not dementia awareness project and appealed to knitters for help, as each muff was handmade and donated to the hospital free of charge. If you are looking to support dementia patients using our how to make a twiddlemuff tutorial, why not ask at the hospices and hospitals in your area if they would benefit from these, or other knitted items? Or else St Clare Hospice in Essex are appealing for donated twiddlemuffs. Find our more by clicking here, or post your donations to Sally Muylders, St Clare Hospice, Hastingwood Road, Hastingwood, CM17 9JX
This twiddle muff pattern is written in UK metrics but it’s really easy to convert, just check out our yarn weight conversion chart and beginner’s guide.
It was an article about the project in the local paper that got Sue Lawton involved at her local charity knitting group, Carers U-Knitted, in Warrington. “My father-in-law had dementia and I volunteer at our local carers’ centre that supports unpaid carers, many of whom are looking after loved ones with dementia,” explains Sue. “Knitting twiddlemuffs is a great way to use my skills to help.”
Keen knitter Sue has knitted more than 300 twiddlemuffs. “I decorate them with ribbons, buttons and zips and often put a Yale key inside them,” she says. “Older people often like to have a key as it makes them feel secure. People with dementia tend to have routines and become agitated in hospital as they are out of their usual routine. Having a twiddlemuff distracts them and helps to soothe their anxiety.”
If you’d like to knit your own twiddlemuffs for a local good cause, we have a free pattern for you to download below. It comes from UK Hand Knitting as part of their Commit to Knit campaign, which encourages knitters to make items for charity. You can find this and more great charity patterns in the Commit to Knit supplement from issue 147 of Simply Knitting.
How to make a twiddle muff: materials
- King Cole, Fashion Aran (70% acrylic, 30% wool, 100g/200m), 1 ball of Red (009)
- King Cole, Moments (100% polyester, 50g/90m), 1 ball of each: Red (478), Yellow (1610)
- A pair of 5mm needles
- Assorted buttons
- Ribbon or cord
Check out our knitting for beginners article if you need to refresh yourself on the basics.
Twiddle muff pattern
To download your free twiddle muff pattern, click on the link below and it will open in a new window. You can then save the pattern.
But remember, you don’t always need a twiddle muff pattern when you are exploring how to make a twiddlemuff. Use your imagination and keep safety in mind and you can create a twiddlemuff from the materials you already have in your stash.
More like the twiddle muff pattern
If you’ve enjoyed the how to make a twiddlemuff tutorial, you’ll find many more brilliant free knitting tutorials right here on Gathered. Try our how to do finger knitting or how to french knit articles for easy makes with minimal materials. beginners will laos like our how to make a chunky knit blanket tutorial, or keep good causes at the forefront of your craft with our premature baby hats pattern. If you fancy treating yourself or a friend to a kit, check out our best knitting kits roundup.