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.

Knit and Natter Friday 8th Feb

Here are some of the beautiful clothes for premature babies that some of our group members have knitted this week.

We have collected quite a haul recently and one of the members has kindly agreed to take them down to the Royal Victoria Infirmary Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in Newcastle. A batch has already been sent to to the Special Baby Care Unit at Northumbria Specialist Emergency Care Hospital, Cramlington

The group, which was set up as part of a social prescribing initiative, meets at Alnwick Medical Group Lower Building every Friday afternoon from 2.30-4pm. Tea/coffee and biscuits are provided. Group members work on either charity knits or their own projects. Support and tuition is also available for novice knitters.

Knit and Natter Friday #9

Friday’s Knit and Natter at Alnwick Medical Group brought more lovely charity knits (including those pictured here). There are two “fish and chip baby” tops here (in peach and orange/brown/white), each with matching hats. These were among the first items the group started to knit, following news from one of the practice GPs, who had been doing voluntary work in a clinic in Africa – there was nothing to keep newborns warm in the maternity unit and they ended up being wrapped in newspaper (like fish and chips) – hence the name. These simple tshirt tops have been a great solution.

Also pictured are a couple of premature baby outfits, destined for the unit at the RVI, Newcastle. Both are very pretty and that lilac/white/pink one is a really lovely colour combination.

We also have a couple of fabulous hats here. The red and green one with the bobble was made by the husband of one of our members, using a knitting loom – she reports that he really likes using the loom. He’s one of the contributors who make charity knits but don’t actually attend the group – we have several ladies who make beautiful charity knits that are either dropped off at the surgery or send them with friends who do come along.

The Knit and Natter Group is held every Friday at The Lower Building on Infirmary Drive from 2.30 to 4pm. We make a voluntary contribution of £1 towards posting the charity knits to where they are needed and tea/coffee and biscuits are provided. Some members make the charity items, others work on their own projects. Some knit, others crochet. There’s always a lot of expertise and experience in the room to help out beginners or assist with problems.