Fidget lap blankets and Twiddle Muffs are both terms for sensory blankets for dementia patients. Often patients’ hands and fingers are continually in motion. According to Brenda Avadian, the person with dementia often has a desire to be useful, to “fix things,” and keep busy. Many people with dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease are disconnected from the world around them. Sensory stimulation can be in many forms, from objects not normally found in their environment, like seashells, to hand massages, or trips outdoors. The stimulation can reconnect the person to a memory or to the present and can lead to smiles, words, and eye contact. The sensory blankets provide soft textures for the person to stroke, with buttons, strings, and braids, that may evoke pleasant memories and give the hands something to work. Blankets can be quilted, crocheted, or knit.
Here is the pattern I use for knitting at Fidget Muff. You can leave it unseamed for a flat blanket or seam it for a muff.
Fidget Lab Blanket or Muff
Cast on 30 stitches with #17 needle and bulky yarn.
Knit 3 rows.
Switch to another yarn every 3 rows, leaving yarn ends with four inches to make fringe.
Alternate weights and colors to make an interesting texture; incorporate bobbles or eyelash yarn, sock yarn, ribbon yarn, etc.
Make muff 10 inches long. (If making a flat blanket, you might want to make it 12-14 inches long.) Bind off.
Tie the ends and make extra fringe.
Fold in half and seam.
Sew on buttons, i-cords, crocheted flowers, or any item to fidget.
We’ll be working on fidget muffs and fun hats this Sunday from 1-3 at the shop. Come in you can!