Thursday, 21 May 2015

Twiddlin’ My Thumbs!

My blogfriend Carol first introduced me to the concept of Twiddlemuffs – aka Sensory Bands or  Fidget Rings.

nursing times

These warm woolly wonders [the picture above is from The nursing Times] are designed to help people who suffer from dementia or Alzheimer’s. The explanation is this…

A sensory band is a pocket or glove that has attachments added to it, inside and out, that patients can twiddle and fiddle with. They are used to calm patients with dementia or Alzheimer’s by giving them something to do with their hands or just enjoyed by older patients.


Here is a picture of the utterly fantastic one which Carol posted in 2013, a gift she had made with great love for her Mum [who sadly passed away earlier this year] Carol had put loads of detail and twiddly bits into her creation. [and she kindly sent me one later, to pass on to someone who’d value it]

I have never got round to making any myself, until this week. I picked up the news on another blog that the Norfolk and Norwich University Hospitals [those lovely people who helped when I hurt my wrist in March, and also the place where my SIL Marion works] were appealing for some for their Integrated Dementia Services Dept. You can buy them from the internet – at around £40 each. Why pay that? Here’s the pattern [rather quirky spellings in places! link here]


It needs double knit [used double] or chunky – and it is a great stash buster. Especially good for using up random balls of loopy or eyelash yarn. Do be sure to sew on beads and buttons with unbreakable yarn. On Sunday evening after church I started one as I watched ‘Home Fires’ then I took it on the train with me up to London on Monday. I knitted in the evening at Steph’s and again on the train back on Tuesday. More knitting on Tuesday evening, and then a bit of time Wednesday sewing on beads and buttons, and doing the seams. I made three in total – it certainly is a quick and easy project.

twiddle muffs

With the first one, I threaded the beads onto nylon thread first and ‘knitted them in’ as I worked – but wasn’t really happy with that, and sewed them on again, more firmly, afterwards. When I got to the third band, I was using up my chunky wool – so the lining is striped and not one colour. The furry ‘eyelash’ and ‘loopy’ yarns certainly provided a variety of texture. I found a row of running stitches round the edges kept the band in good shape. My bands have a plain lining – I’m told that some people prefer to wear the band on one arm, and use the other hand for ‘twiddling and stroking’, but others turn them inside out and have both hands inside, like a Victorian lady’s muff.

The gentleman opposite me in the railway carriage [who looked just like Hugh Bonneville, but sadly it wasn’t him] eventually plucked up the courage to ask what I was making, and was genuinely interested in the project. I suspect he may have been wondering about my state of mind, knitting such bizarre stripes with loops and whorls and furry bits!

By the way – this is Dementia Awareness Week!you may have seen the Alzheimer’s Society Ad on TV


  1. Thanks for this, Ang - I had no idea! I shall share the pattern with our craft groups in the circuit and see if anyone here would like to make some. And I shall have a go too!

  2. What a super idea, nearly as much fun as knitting tiny hats for bottles! I might see if my knitting skills will reach to this.

  3. Thanks for sharing, I'm full of enthusiasm to give them a go & have emailed a contact at my local hospital to see if they can use some. Vee x

  4. Another example of the power of the Internet - I love it when a good idea gets shared and other people take it up, for the good of others. Thank you friends!

  5. Oh what a wonderful idea! I wish I wasn't so useless at knitting!x

  6. The muffs you've made are lovely and a great post.
    My friends and I are still making the muffs and giving them away. I'm on hold at the moment with all the gala preparations but will resume again in the summer.


  7. Fantastic idea! Thank you for sharing! xxx


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