Friday, 28 April 2017

I'm Not Twiddling My Thumbs

On Wednesday evening I got home from the Alpha Group at Church and sat down with a cup of tea and checked out facebook [9.40pm]. A member of one group I am in had just put out an urgent request for a Twiddlemuff for her Mum. So I replied I could make one for her.
If you aren't aware of these, they are simple knitted muffs for people with dementia - they keep their hands warm... and more importantly, keep their fingers occupied. Often dementia sufferers pick at things, pluck their clothes, pull their hair etc, and these muffs really help with that. They can pull and pluck and play with the beds and ribbons, stroke the soft yarns, and the muffs seem to help calm them. I located the pattern [The Knit For Peace Twiddlemuff Pattern] and went upstairs for yarn and needles. KFP is a great site!
"Are you making another Snufflebag thing?" said Bob [who couldn't quite remember the name] I explained, and he kindly made me more tea.
I knitted the basic rectangle [it needs to be about 12" x 24"] and then went to bed around midnight.I used some chunky yarn, some DK [two strands at a time] and some 'eyelash' yarn [with a strand of DK alongside] on 7.5mm needles, mostly in stocking stitch. It knits up really quickly.Once or twice I varied the pattern, doing a few rows in reverse and I also did a row of eyelets 
On Thursday morning, I  blocked it out on my ironing board and pressed it.
An assortment of buttons, beads and bits of ribbon were pinned, and then sewn in place. I threaded some trim through the eyelets but also tied ribbon knots there. It is really important to tug firmly on each embellishment, you do not want things to come adrift in the owner's hands.
I left long tails on the sewing threads and wove them through the stitches on the back - that anchors them well - trimming them too short might cause stitching to come adrift. Once everything was sewn down, the rectangle was folded in half to make a square, and the three open edges sewn up. Then that was folded into a tube.
Here is the front and back of the inside and the outside. The buttons and beads varied in size and shape - and my ribbons were smooth satin, soft velvet, cotton twill and knobbly trim.
Mixing the yarns and the stitches added to the colours and textures too. I was able to get it into the post on Thursday afternoon. 
If you have never made one of these, do have a go - it is a great way to use up your stash, and costs nothing but a few hours of your time. Many care homes and hospitals are pleased to accept them [check out Knit For Peace for information]


  1. I do sometimes think of making one for my mother, but am worried that my finishing skills will not ensure security of sewn on items! So many of my crochet things come adrift. I wonder if my ends, though sewn in, are just too short.

    1. I used to have that problem until I realised I was trying to skimp on the yarn by just leaving short ends. The secret is long ends then weave,weave,weave, then sew in. Guaranteed to stay put that way.

  2. What a lovely thing to make and so kind of you. I must admit I've never heard of them. Lovely name snufflebag.

  3. Yes, I've liked this idea for ages but have never got round to making any yet. Have you seen the little octupus that folk are making for premature babies? Apparently, the babies get a great deal of comfort from latching on to the tendrils!

    This is the pattern I was telling you about.

  5. Mags - [1] read Nana Gogo's comments about the ends [2] you could always Crochet octopii and get someone else to knit your Mum a twiddlemuff!

  6. Thank you for the information on how to make these, Angela.


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