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

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 accessories attached.

Why are twiddlemuffs used?

Twiddlemuffs are great for those with dementia or Alzheimer's, as they help to ease agitation and calm the person’s mood by keeping 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?

In this video we show you an example of how you can knit your very own twiddlemuff for someone you know, or to donate. There are no rules, as long as you use lots of colors and textures. Adding things like buttons, bells, pom poms, and ribbons helps by giving the recipient lots of little things to keep their hands busy.

What 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 fibers 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.

Top twiddlemuff yarns

  • King Cole Luxe Fur

    King Cole Luxe Fur

  • Paintbox Yarns Chunky Pots

    Paintbox Yarns Chunky Pots

    100% Acrylic, 7.1oz

  • Lion Brand Baby Soft Boucle

    Lion Brand Baby Soft Boucle

  • Rico Creative Loopy Pompon Print

    Rico Creative Loopy Pompon Print

    76% Acrylic 24% Nylon, 3.5oz

  • Wendy Frills

    Wendy Frills

    85% Acrylic 15% Polyester, 5.3oz

Extra things to twiddle

Buttons, attached securely are perfect for holding, either attached tightly, or tied 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.

Make and attach your own mini pom poms with extra small pom pom makers

Small zips can provide activity for fretful hands – and some locking stitch markers can be an extra tactile touch.

Top twiddle bits 'n' bobs

  • Pom-Pom Maker (Extra Small)

    Pom-Pom Maker (Extra Small)

  • Rico Toggle Button

    Rico Toggle Button

    36

  • Rico Felt Balls Mix

    Rico Felt Balls Mix

  • Rico Bells Assorted Colours - 14mm

    Rico Bells Assorted Colours - 14mm

In the video above, we show you one of the ways you can make a twiddlemuff. However, there are plenty of other patterns you can use as a starting point! Take a look at our top picks;

  • Rainbow Bobble Muff

    Rainbow Bobble Muff

    Downloadable PDF

  • Arctic Cowl and Muff

    Arctic Cowl and Muff

    Downloadable PDF

  • "Muff" - Accessory Knitting Pattern For Women in Debbie Bliss Paloma

    "Muff" - Accessory Knitting Pattern For Women in Debbie Bliss Paloma

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 provides an address for you to send your finished twiddlemuffs to. They will then distribute them amongst NHS Hospitals around the UK.