03 February 2020


In an attempt to stop myself grazing on chocolate and other unhealthy rubbish, while I watch TV in the evenings (something I do far too much these days - both grazing and watching TV, but what's a widowed girl to do on these long dark evenings?), I have taken up knitting. I've been doing it for a couple of years now to try and keep my hands busy and to stop them from reaching out for yet another biscuit or bag of crisps. I try to keep slim, but it is so difficult on cold winter nights when it gets dark so early and too cold to venture out alone in the evenings. It's also a pastime that can be done quite easily in conjunction with watching mindless stuff on TV, as I don't need to look down to knit.

For the past two years I have knitted zillions of squares to make into patchwork blankets for animal rescue centres.  I have blogged about this before - see here. I took a load to our local rescue centre last year and a couple of weeks ago, Kay and I went to Battersea to deliver 28 blankets to The Battersea Cats' and Dogs' Home. It was so lovely to wander round and required a very hard heart indeed to leave without a cat and dog under each arm. We were more than sorely tempted.

However, I was getting a little tired of knitting squares and my attention was drawn at new year to another outlet for my needles. Two people at the new year party I went to had relatives with dementia and we got on to the subject of twiddle muffs. For those of you unfamiliar with the term, they are like hand muffs for people with dementia. They are decorated with all sorts to attract the attention of the dementia patient and are a sort of Western version of worry beads in that the patient twiddles with or strokes the sewn-on novelties to calm them. With this in mind, I looked up a pattern on the internet and got cracking. With one person's husband in mind,  I decided not to make it too feminine. His favourite colour is green, so with that in mind, I proceeded to knit a piece 30 cm (12 inches) wide and 60 cm (24 inches) long with different colours, textures and stitches. Thus far, it looks like a scarf.

the long piece measures 30 x 60 cm
It is then folded in half so you have an outer side and a lining side 12 inches square. 

The piece is then decorated with things that will attract or allow twiddling. Buttons, ribbons, pom-poms, sequins, cord - anything available to hand. 

The lining side is decorated with sensory things to play with
Then the piece is sewn up to resemble a tube with the lining side inside and the outer side on the - well, outside.

Inside out
Top side of the outer layer (the hands go in to the right and left)

Bottom side of the outer layer
It took me under a week to do - just in the evenings and here is the finished version ready to go off to my acquaintance's husband in Switzerland. My next one will be decidedly more feminine with pinks and purples and more flowery things for my best friend's mother.  The website where I got the pattern has an address where, if you wish, you can send the finished versions, because they pass them on to dementia wards in hospitals and care homes.  I can see I am going to be busy twiddling for some time.