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Twiddle Muffs – Therapy for Dementia Patients

Our Knit and Natter Group has had a request for twiddle muffs. These tubes of textured knitting, embellished with buttons and beads, give dementia patients something to hold, the repeated action of stroking the fabric or twiddling with a button has a calming effect. Those of us with pets know how calming it is to stroke your dog or cat – the same principle applies. In hospitals the twiddle muffs also provide a distraction to prevent patients with dementia from picking at a dressing or a cannula.

This week I’ve made three twiddle mitts. They are a great way of using up oddments of yarn, especially those with interesting textures, like mohair, chenille and boucle. Alternatively you can used different stitches to provide texture, such as blackberry stitch, moss stitch or cable.

Each mitt is formed from a double layer of stocking stitch. The pattern I used casts on 45 stitches on 6.5mm needles, working with one strand of chunky yarn or two strands of double knitting. The first 11 inches of the project forms the lining of the muff – I saved the most colourful yarns for the outer part. When the piece is 22 inches long, you cast it off .

I find it easier to add embellishments at this point – various beads and buttons, to both the inner and outer parts. It is important that these are sewn on very securely. Next the long edges are sewn together to form a long tube.

The lining is then folded to the inside and the ends stitched together.

I prefer to add a row of stitches to the other end of the mitt too.


The first mitt included a green and yellow flecked yarn, a rust coloured mohair and a very soft yellow chenille.

Once of the embellishments I used was a crocheted sunflower with a button centre.

The mitt linings had various beads, buttons and rings attached.

The second mitt was knitted in shades of pink and purple, Including a lilac ribbon yarn, variegated thin and thin chunky and a couple of different mohair yarns.

Embellishments included some tiny jingle bells, crocheted flowers with button centres….

…and a ribbon slotted through the knitting and securely tied with a double knot then in a bow.

The final mitt, in various teal shades included a deep petrol blue sequinned yarn, turquoise ribbon yarn, pale blue and metallic eyelash yarn, a very knobby boucle in black and shades of green and turquoise and two shades of teal mohair.

I’ll find out tomorrow how we can get these to where they are needed.