Alzheimer's Twiddle Mitts

by Veronica

Our local community have been busily knitting Alzheimer's Twiddle Mitts- me included.But what are they and how might they help sufferers?

There are many types of dementia and Alzheimer's disease is just one of them. Alzheimer's Disease is the most common type and affects approx 800,000 people in Britain. It is a progressive disease which affects many functions but mainly the memory .No one knows what causes it but it is distressing condition for the family and the sufferers themselves.

Recently there has been a project going on in the UK to make Twiddle Muffs for Alzheimer's patients. I started a "Knit and Natter" group at Church and we often undertake charity projects The Twiddle Muffs / Mitts/ Sleeves Project was a cause which captured all of our hearts. As a group, we have made several and I finished my first one just half an hour ago.

Muff/ Mitt/ Sleeve are Interchangable for this object.

Other projects we have undertaken are making knee blankets for wheel chair users in the care homes for the elderly and little outfits for the AIDS babies in Africa., dog coats for an animal charity ... ...and all while we knit and have a cup of tea or coffee on a Monday for an hour.

The finished item.

The finished Twiddle Mitt
The finished Twiddle Mitt

What is a Twiddle Mitt?

A Twiddle Mitt/ Muff or Sleeve is a double thickness knitted  sleeve which is covered with ribbons, decorations,  buttons or anything that can be sown on safely to the finished Mitt.  They can be made with any type of knitting stitch or wool. Sufferers can have a tendency to twiddle their fingers and pull at their fingers and hair when the are anxious. The Twiddle Mitt is believed to soothe and calm sufferers and is safer for them than pulling their skin or hair.

Also the variety of colours and textures will hopefully be simulating for brain activity as well as calming.

Some possible decorations

A crochet loop
A crochet loop


Today I have been plaiting ribbons and crocheting chains  ( above ) to attach very securely to the Mitt. I particularly chose bright stimulating colours such as yellow and lilac. which I attached to the grey background wool. as a contrast The mitt has decorations on the inside of  it as well as the outside of it.

Knit the rectangle.

during the making
during the making

How to make one.

It couldn't be easier .

American /UK terms

Needle sizes  UK  5 to 7   USA  9 to 7

Yarn / Wool   UK -  Double Knitting   USA -  sport/knitting worsted

You can use any size of needle but a UK Size 5 to 7 would be best and any type of wool although I used UK Double Knitting  as I had odds and ends of wool left  over from other projects.


Cast on enough stitches to measure 12 inches across and knit any type of stitch for 24 inches.

Cast off / Bind off  and attach various decorations but do not put any across the centre section as this will be folded over.

When you have attached them very securely for the safety of the patient,  fold the rectangle in half and sew up three sides. Then fold in half again and sew the top of the mitt together so you have a muff/sleeve/ mitt with decorations on the inside and outside. The blue ribbon in the photo below is on the inside of the Mitt and the whole thing is reversible.


...and that's how it is done.

(I added the Santa as a bit of fun  And my tea mug Iis there too as I always have a cuppa when I knit)

Nearly there
Nearly there

To close

I hope this idea may be useful to someone whom you know. It is hopefully very helpful to sufferers.

DO make sure that the objects are fixed very securely and enjoy your knitting.

Twiddle Muff
Twiddle Muff

DEC 2018

Knee blanket

I have adapted this to an Alzheimer's knee blanket for a friend's step mum. 

I made the blanket wider  ( about 3 ft wide and  2ft long ) put the twiddle items closer to the centre so they are more over the knees. The picture is below. 

It has plaited strands of ribbon, wool,  crochet and buttons.  The textures and colours differ so to stimulate the brain  when it is used. 

Knee blanket

Knee blanket
Knee blanket
Updated: 12/15/2018, Veronica
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DerdriuMarriner 11 days ago

The knee blanket and the twiddle mitts have such invigorating and yet tranquil and warm colors. For example, the knee blanket houses lively green and soporific blue and sunny yellow.

The second subheading, Decorations, indicates that "The mitt has decorations on the inside of it as well as the outside of it."

What might those inside decorations be like?

Veronica on 12/15/2018

I have adapted the Alzheimer's Mitt to a knee blanket to go over the patient's knees. The picture is above.

Veronica on 10/24/2018

What a lovely thing to do. They can be made with spare ends of wool of varying colours to stimulate the brain. Odds and ends need to be very securely fastened so that when victims twiddle their fingers they can feel a variety of securely tied textures and objects.

The problem is that each mitt can, for hygiene reasons, only be used by one person so here in UK the senior citizens rest homes are very much in need of them. Therefore there is a constant need.

katiem2 on 10/22/2018

Oh what a beautiful project. I lost my grandmother to a variety of this disease, sad, so very very sad. I am def going to get a move on making twiddle mitts in my down time whilst watching the telly or what not. Thank YOU!

Veronica on 06/14/2018

The mitt is long and the victims use both hands in one mitt. But there is a constant need for them as they can't be shared. I chose the colours to be stimulating for an Alzheimer's person.

DerdriuMarriner on 06/13/2018

Veronica, What beautifully relaxing colors and designs! Do the recipients use one mitt per arm or is it possible to put one hand inside each end to keep warm? What kind of tea do you drink during your knitting hour?

Veronica on 11/16/2017

Thank you. It was new to us at Knit and Natter too. There're patterns online. Our Knit and Natter have made a few now and we take them to the local care homes. Obviously the mitts have a single user life span so care homes are in constant need of mitts being replenished.

kimbesa on 11/16/2017

I haven't heard of this...thanks! I have a friend who is tired of making hats, and she could do this. Yours are beautiful and charming!

Veronica on 11/15/2017

TY Dusty. If it helps with this sad and distressing condition then it is worth doing and I wanted to spread this idea further afield than just the UK . They won't do any harm and hopefully will do some good.

dustytoes on 11/15/2017

I have never heard of giving this type of thing to patients with dementia. My mother had Alzheimers. Your finished product looks lovely.

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