Charity Knits Charity Tuesday - Twiddlemuffs

Published on September 20th, 2017 | by Siân


Twiddlemuffs – How You Can Help Dementia and Alzheimer’s Patients

Knitting for charity is a wonderful and rewarding project. Here we discuss how twiddlemuffs can help those with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.


twiddlemuff dementia


What’s a twiddlemuff?

A twiddlemuff is a knitted, crocheted or fabric tube with accessories such as ribbons and buttons sewn on to them. They are usually made up of many yarn textures, with notions sewn on the inside and outside of the muff. This allows for the person’s hands to stay warm while they are able to twiddle with the bits and pieces.

Why are Twiddlemuffs used?

For many people with dementia, there are developments and changes to their personalities, one of which is to become increasingly agitated. Twiddlemuffs help to ease agitation and calm the person’s mood, as they can keep their hands and minds occupied. Many hospital wards have found that the muffs have a positive effect on patients by keeping them comforted, as well as encouraging movement and brain stimulation.

How can I make a twiddlemuff?

There are no real rules for knitting a twiddlemuff, as long as the colors are bright, the yarns have good texture, and you add some great accoutrements. You can use any type of stitch (garter works nicely), and you can knit as many rows of as many different yarns as you’d like. Generally a good size for a rectangle is 12″ x 24″ / 30cm x 60cm. Here’s a short video we made demonstrating how to knit a swatch in the twiddlemuff style:

You can download a pattern by Knit for Peace by clicking the button below:



Which yarns are best for twiddlemuffs?

It’s important to create different textures to help keep fretful minds occupied, and you can do this by using yarns of different fibres and weights, along with attaching items to twiddle.

Colors: some research has shown that pastels are soothing for ladies, whereas men prefer bright, contrasting shades, but if you know the recipient in person, choose colors that you know are favourites!

Textures: use as many textures as you like – soft chenille, eyelash yarns, thick and thin, and different weight yarns to create ridges and dips. Conversely, some people may prefer regularity, so creating something less varied might be helpful too.

Here are some of our favourite yarns to inspire you!

Loopy yarns such as Lang Yarns Loop (pictured below), Katia Velvet Loop or Lana Grossa Bombolo all produce great textures!

Lang Yarns Loop

Eyelash and fur yarns such as Lion Brand Fun Fur (below), King Cole Luxe Fur and King Cole Krystal Fur are extra soft faux fur yarns that can bring shots of texture.

Lion brand Fun Fur

Paintbox Yarns are full of color – providing a palette to choose from that includes over 60 shades in DK, aran and chunky weights. Paintbox Yarns Chunky Pots change color all on their own!

Chunky pots

Yarns with different shape add to the change of textures too – Lion Brand Homespun comes in a glorious range of variegated shades, and Red Heart Boutique Filigree is a super tape yarn that will either make up into ruffles or knit flat. Stylecraft Ruffles, Wendy Frills and Rico Creative Loopy PomPom Print are all scarf yarns that have features built into the yarn construction.

Lion Brand Homespun

Extra things to twiddle

Buttons, attached securely are perfect for holding, either attach tightly, or tie to a strong loop.  Felt balls can be strung and attached as a row of balls to feel, or stitched on individually. Tie on bows or strips of ribbon, and thread beads along securely. Attach a faux fur pom pom, or make your own with these extra small pom pom makers! Small zips can provide activity for fretful hands – and some locking stitch markers can be an extra tactile touch.

How can I get involved?

To find out more about Alzheimer’s and dementia, you can visit the Alzheimer’s Society website.

The wonderful organization Knit For Peace has a knitting pattern, and provides an address for you to send your finished twiddlemuffs to. They will then distribute them amongst NHS Hospitals around the UK.




Images VIA/ /Knit For Peace

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About the Author

is an artist and works in the Social Media team at LoveCrafts HQ. She taught herself to knit when she was 17 years old, and hasn't stopped since! You'll normally find her in an art gallery, or buried in a book.

Last updated: November 2nd, 2017.

44 Responses to Twiddlemuffs – How You Can Help Dementia and Alzheimer’s Patients

  1. Agnes Vesey says:

    What a great idea, We are Chari-tea here in Vero Beach and we knit for charity, We get together

    every tuesday,

    • Linda says:

      How amazing! I am about to knit one of these for my mother and while looking on the website saw your post. We visit Vero Beach from the UK every year and I spoke to some of your group in Panera’s last October. I may pop in to join you next month!

    • Jodi says:

      I absolutely love this!! I wish so much that I could make one for my Mom. I was sad when I read that the organization that makes them was in the UK and then I saw your post. I used to live in Vero Beach!! In fact, a huge part of my heart remains there. I am now back in Michigan and my Mom is in Tennessee. Do you happen to know of any organizations that make these for sale for dementia patients?

  2. Shirley says:

    I heard about these here in Canada about a year ago from a friend whose Mother had dementia. Happy to have a pattern, thinking I should make one for myself now so if/when the time comes it will be ready!

  3. Lynne says:

    I’ve been making these for over a year now & give to my local hospital. I am only sorry I didn’t know about them earlier as they could have benefitted my late mum. I have made mine …… all in red, my favourite colour!

  4. marianne says:

    I have just found my new purpose. My dad recently died and was dealing with dementia in his last weeks and months, becoming more and more agitated. I wish I had known about twiddlemuffs then. I am going to start making them and contact my knitting friends to get them making them, too. I’m going to contact the local hospitals, nursing homes, and senior service programs to get them distributed.

    Thank you for such a wonderful idea! God Bless!

  5. Linda says:

    I work on a Ward where we use the twiddlemuffs and they are fantastic. As a knitter I often use them as a talking point with my patients too – often with older people they knew how to knit.

  6. Annie says:

    I have recently joined a group of knitters at my local library in North Lambeth to make twiddle-muffs. People have donated yarn, buttons, sequins and ribbons for us to use. I have met some lovely people, so I’m enjoying myself, and it’s really good to think that it is of benefit to others. It’s a great excuse to try out new knitting techniques, to keep it interesting.

  7. john moon says:

    I am on my forth twiddle muff, I got my pattern from a knitting magazine, then I heard about them from my WI. Think they are a great idea.

  8. Gail Sutherland says:

    Thankyou. I have just found my new project. I can take them to my mums nursing home as she has dementia and it would benefit her.

  9. barbara newton says:

    that is a great idea.

  10. barbara newton says:

    I couldn’t print the pattern out of the Twiddlemuff,I couldn’t press the ok,button,it wouldn’t go up far enough.could you please,sendme the pattern,=I live at 108 Northcote street,Kurri Kurri,n.N.S.W. 2327. Australia.I am a member of your knitting club.this is my e/

    • Pam Emerson Clarke says:

      I read the pattern off a link here somewhere awhile back.. Have made a few so know the pattern well.. I live in Bingara, NSW… So I would & could send you the pattern…. Actually I am taking three plus a twiddle rug up to my best friend in Brisbane next wk… Sue has Alziemers…

    • Lil Emms says:

      If you haven’t already got pattern I think if you use google and could possibly find one. There is also a group in NSW roses knitting for charity which makes these also

  11. Susan says:

    My group crochets. Would someone know of a crochet pattern available?

  12. Deborah Nash says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this interesting post! All good wishes, Deborah

  13. Shirley says:

    My Mum has always been a knitter, and has a large stockpile of yarn at home. She now has Vascular Dementia and can no longer concentrate so doesn’t knit now. I have tried to get her to knit some squares to make a blanket but she cannot even cope with this – she’ll knit a few rows then she unravels it. I have used up some of her yarn, but there is still an awful lot left, so I shall be making some twiddlemuffs from the odd balls& the first one will be for Mum!

    • Jane Graham says:

      Hi Shirley,
      My Mum was also an avid knitter and Crossword solver, sadly she was diagnosed with Vascular Dementia too. She now focuses on washing and folding clothes.
      She still lives at home with my Step Dad but he has had a stroke and I am shortly with his blessing going to put their names down at an Aged Care Facility near me.
      I first saw a Twiddlemuff at the Gerintologists office and showed Mum, she looked at it and was confused as to what it was and wasn’t interested, I will try again down the track and make her one.

  14. Jacqui says:

    I have made some of these for the local hospital. They sent me a message to say thanks but for future reference not to use buttons, beads, sequence etc as there is a health and safety concern around those items as dementia patients could pull them of and try to swallow them. Just thought you might like to know.

    • Loraine Gray says:

      Jacqui, might I ask if you knitted the buttons etc on or sew them on afterwards? I try to thread everything onto the yarn and then sow them on as well to be absolutely sure. I did ask that the care homes tell me if I was doing something wrong or could do something differently. Now I am not sure whether they were being polite.

  15. Lorna klotz says:

    My husband died of dementia…complications with his pancreas. He wouldn’t have used this as he twiddled his thumbs even before he went into care. I saw how items got lost or taken and never to be found again. His hardcovered book wa taken and I never saw it again. It was a constant check everyday I went To visit to make sure that his clothes were in the closet and his four pairs of slippers as two pairs disappeared for nearly two months. I was one of very few who checked on his belongings each and every time I visited. Adding this twiddle mitten would only add more searching for me for someone who wouldn’t use it as I had made up a twiddle bag of items that he used so much before dementia took over.
    This is the worst disease as I saw each and everyday more and more of MY HUSBAND leaving me. I must say that he “knew me” till the end as there were always signs as I could do anything…shave him, cut his hair, brush his teeth, and even the last few days when I held his hand, he squeezed it so tight, that it hurt. Never listen to those experts who tell you about care giver burnout as I never let this happens to me and the constant times with him were worth it.

  16. Stevie says:

    I printed the pattern and want to know if there if a place here in the United States where the Twiddlemuffs could be used. I know it would have been a blessing to my mom when her dementia progressed.

    • Louise says:

      I also live In The US, NH to be exact….would love more info if anyone has some😀

    • Teri Brown says:

      Me too. I love in WI and both my wonderful in-laws had dementia and died from complications. I would love to make some Twiddlemuffs. Where could I send them?

      • Jo says:

        I also live in Wisconsin. My church knitting group works with our county Aging Disability Resource Center (ADRC). They distribute our Muffs to clients during home visits.

  17. Cheryl says:

    Consider talking to your local nursing home. The activity director or Director of Nursing should be able to let you know if they would be able to use them. I plan to make one for my 98 year old father, but for right now he has recently been able to be interested in removing large nuts from two inch bolts, kept in a tool box. I was able to get these from the local lumberyard. As he declines, I can well imagine him enjoying this muff idea. Another object that works for some dementia patients is the wooden sorting or matching puzzles used in Montessori classrooms.
    Everything should be able to go through a dishwasher or the laundry, or to be cleansed with a sanitizing solution, in order to meet regulations by the state. So, probably synthetics and cotton yarns would work better than wool which might shrink or get felted on its first trip through the laundry! My thoughts are with all of you who have lost loved ones to dementia, and my prayers are for all of you who are currently having to provide care and support to loved ones still living with it.

  18. Margaret says:

    Check with any assisted living center – many have “memory centers”, and they would be delighted to receive them (and could tell you any requirements they have). My mother had been knitting for over 70 years when her memory failed. Even when she couldn’t remember how to knit, she liked to hold yarn in her hands, which were always active. The center where Mum spent her last few months had many items like Cheryl’s tool box (some for men and some for women). “Busy hands” are pretty classic in dementia/Alzheimer’s. My heart is with those of you who have lost your family members to this disease, and to those who are still going through this trial. It is not easy.

  19. Kathy says:

    I recently made two of these and sent them to Knit for Peace. I wish I’d remembered to take some pics!

    They’re a fun and easy thing to make and a great way to use up all your left over wool, added to which, you’re doing it for a great cause.

    I will definitely be making some more in the future.

  20. Karen Grant says:

    What a fantastic idea ! I have not seen these in Australia, but would be keen to make these and donate to my local nursing home. Wish I saw these when my mum was still alive !!

  21. Karen Grant says:

    I have not seen these in Australia, but would be keen to make these and donate to my local nursing home. Wish I saw these when my mum was still alive !!

  22. Chrissy says:

    Our knitting group have made lots of these. They are so well received. I personally made mine in bright colours with lots of ‘bits’ attached. A small pocket is also useful.

  23. Claudine Allen says:

    Having worked in dementia units and putting up with state regs. Has anybody checked with the state to make sure they would not consider this a restraint? It may seem silly because i know they can remove their hand but we were not allowed to use bibs on the elderly cause they considered it demeaning. Like sitting with a soaked dirty shirt wasnt demeaning. I love this idea and cant wait to get started but dont want any state official giving anybody a violation.

  24. Gloria Moore says:

    What a great way to use up odd yarn and for a good reason. Could someone please send me the pattern. Thanks, Gloria in Newfoundland,Canada

  25. Carol says:

    Thank you for all the wonderful articles and beautiful patterns. Mum passed away a few years ago from a stroke. She spent her lasty years in a secure dementia ward. I tried numerous ways to steady her ever moving hands. I only wish I was able to make her one of these twiddlemuffs. I can see her putting it on her baby doll she cared for.
    I know she would have loved it as much as I would have loved making it for her. She was a great knitter. I am very fortunate to have had her as my teacher in all things. I’ll definitely make a twiddlemuff for my aunt who has dementia and for others at her care home.

  26. Loraine says:

    Whilst this is a craft blog, it is obvious that the contributors have an interest in helping people living with dementia. I would like to share the value of “personally meaningful music” to the person living with dementia, their family and carers. In the UK, the charity Playlist for Life provides advice and guidance to families on how to create and use a playlist, The correct music can help to calm the individual down when they are agitated or perk them up when they feel down. If you are interested, just google “playlist for life” and you will find lots of information.

  27. kathy b says:

    Thanks LOVEKNITTING for this great information on Twiddle MItts. Bloggy friends across the States helped me make 30 mitts for Glen St. Andrews in Chicago. Im sure they would accept more!! Sian, well done

  28. Linda Scott says:

    Our WI has been making lots of these and donating them to our local hospital for both a & e and the wards. I actually make cushions and sew on things like zips and fasteners as well as buttons, bobbles, feathers etc. Using different textures. Now we are making and donating to South Yorkshire Police as they say they will calm down agitated people they pick up and also for people who have been in accidents etc.

  29. Robert Brown says:

    Can someone tell me how to get one of these for my mother. She is 83 and recently got to the point that she is fidgeting. She has always loved to knit so I think one of these would be great for her.

  30. Oq0mwR5 says:

    702865 868980I adore your wordpress web template, wherever would you download it from? 640871

  31. Mavis says:

    Does anyone know if twiddle muffs would be good for people with autis

  32. Mavis says:

    Does anyone know if twiddle muffs would be helpful for an adult with autism

  33. Stevie says:

    I live in the UK and have made and donated about 30 so far to local hospitals, age concern and care homes, they are also used for patients that can no longer manage to entertain themselves by doing the usual puzzles or even reading a book due to frailness and age. I sew or knit a small pocket with a button fastening on the out side for a photo or hanky to be kept in (the small soap powder bags with draw string work really well for this). and have even cut sheets into thin strips and knitted with them for contrast. I also knit bobbles randomly on the inside for fiddling. I buy my beads (old necklaces) and buckles from charity shops. Feed back from nurses, carers and family has always been good and they are so grateful as the old and frail often get forgotten

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