A Twiddlemuff or to Twiddlemuff, that is the question?
Either way you say it, it sounds a little bit “Carry On” doesn’t it?
“Would you care for tea m’Lord?”
“No thanks my good man off for a bit of Twiddlemuff!”
Actually, though that could not be further from the truth.
Until a few months ago I too was totally oblivious to what a Twiddlemuff was. It was only when I had a quick flick through my mum’s WI monthly newsletter (as you do when you have nothing better to do) when I saw a small article that caught my eye. The headline was “Twiddling for Dementia” – and again even the headline raised an eyebrow!
So what is a Twiddlemuff?
It is also known as a Sensory Band or Dementia Sleeve, which are double thickness knitted hand muffs embellished with bits and bobs (such as buttons, ribbons, bells, etc) attached inside and out to provide a stimulation activity for restless hands in patients suffering from dementia.
After reading, a little lightbulb went PING! in my head. Ah, I thought, an opportunity to knock another item off the old bucket list. The art of knitting.
Now, since I wrote my bucket list (or things to do in my 40s) I have knitted precisely one item. A very small scarf (10 stitches across) in plain knit stitch only which is currently residing on small boy’s toy bunny.
So as you can tell I am not the world’s best knitter, by any stretch of the imagination, but I thought it would give me a chance to practice and hone my skills whilst at the same time doing something worthwhile.
I went to the webpage shown in the magazine article for the pattern which said that I should cast on 28 stitches (easy when you know how, I favour the thumb method myself) and then do stocking stitch. Now clearly when I went to my “The Knitting Book” I must have not had my glasses on because I could have sworn blind that stocking stitch was Knit one Purl one.
This was my result after 5 or 6 rows!
I could not work out why the darn thing was not getting any longer.
Until, I took a closer look.
When it comes to knitting I am very much a beginner’s beginner. Sure I knew how to do a basic knit stitch, but that still involved my concentrating really hard and sticking my tongue out of the corner of my mouth. Knit one Purl one was causing consternation, purely because having read in my knitting bible that to a do a purl stitch the yarn should be in front of the needles.
And therein lay my problem.
What I was doing between each stitch was actually moving the ball of wool so all I was doing was knotting rather than knitting, which is why the thing wasn’t getting nay longer.
Unravel, throw needles down in despair at how rubbish I am and leave it.
For a few weeks, and then I found another pattern, courtesy of Knit for Peace which seemed a lot simpler to follow, since it said you could use just normal Knit stitch, and then it actually explained stocking stitch.
Clearly I had been wearing my “daft” head (as Worzel would have put it) because stocking stick is knit one row and then purl one row – oh, how much simpler.
So recasting 60 stitches we had Twiddlemuff Part 2.
And after a while my knitting resembled something identifiable:
And yes, I still had 60 stitches.
Sure, I am still as slow as the proverbial snail, in fact I timed it and it takes me 4 mins and 34 seconds to knit one row – a little bit longer for purl. But I am almost, so very nearly at the end of my ball of wool and it looks quite good.
I think I must have not used a 150g ball of wool, as it is not the required length.
Guess Bunny now has a blanket!
I will buy another ball of wool and start Twiddlemuff Mark 3 – then I can send it off.
I will update you on the progress of the next Twiddlemuff soon.
In the meantime, I’m off to Twiddlemuff!