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: September 20th, 2017.

15 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,

  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…

  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!

  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.

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