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.

Double Twiddle

I made a couple of twiddle mitts this week. It’s been a while since I made any charity knits and the members of my Knit and Natter Group put me to shame with all their lovely work.

Twiddle Mitts are given to Alzheimers patients to distract them from picking at dressings and canulae when in hospital. Also, repeatedly twiddling the buttons and other adornments and stroking the different textures of yarn can have a calming effect. I was inspired to make these when a friend donated a pile of yarn which included some really interesting textures:there were fluffy mohairs, eyelash yarn, metallics, ribbon yarns and all sorts.. They are dead easy to make, so I thought I’d include a bit of a tutorial on here.

Using two strands of double knitting (or the equivalent) and 6.5mm needles, cast on 40 stitches and continue in stocking stitch (it’s easier to sew the embellishments on later if you use straight needles, but you could use circular). Change the yarn every so often to incorporate different textures. You could also vary the stitch to change the texture by using eg moss stitch, blackberry stitch or cable. When the work measures 23 inches, cast off. You end up with a long rectangle like this.

I use the duller colours for the first half which will form the inside of the mitt and save the colourful stuff for the outside.

Next, you add the embellishments…..beads, buttons and so on. I also added some tiny jingle bells and a crocheted flower.

It’s important to add embellishments to what will be the inside of the mitt too.

The most important thing here is to sew the items on very securely.

When everything is in place, sew the side edges together to form a tube (if you used circular needles you’ll already have one!)

Then, fold half to the inside and sew the cast on and cast off edges together.

I finished off by adding a little crocheted edging.

All done!

How do you use up your oddments of yarn?