Tag Archives: knitting

Twiddlemuff and the Art of Knitting

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 toย  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!

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10 Things I Want to do in 2014

Now, let me state from the outset this is not a list of New Year Resolutions.

It is just a list of things I would like to do during the coming year – some off the bucket list, some not.

So , here goes, in no particular order:

  1. Read Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” – I’m up to Chapter 5, still another 98% to go according to the Kindle.
  2. Learn to speak Spanish – so I can understand and answer back. I’ve already bought a ‘speak-a-long’ CD which is pretty good, so I’m hoping to finish that and practice with some of the mums at school – who, thankfully just happen to speak Spanish ๐Ÿ˜‰
  3. Learn to play the piano – at least learn how to read to the left hand line of music and know where the notes go and bash out a simple tune.
  4. Take a singing exam – just for fun.
  5. Learn to knit and actually knit something!
  6. Go and see Mamma Mia – dressing up optional ๐Ÿ˜‰
  7. Try and do one of my exercise DVDs every day – yes, this might actually be straying into resolution territory, but I have some 10 minute workout DVD’s which are great and I am sure I can squeeze 10 minutes in a day … somewhere ๐Ÿ˜‰ Need to work on my core strength – at the moment it sucks and a better core will help my posture in ballroom – apparently ๐Ÿ˜‰ It might also tilt my pelvis back into its proper alignment – miracles do happen!
  8. Train my chimp so I can actually get things done as opposed to constantly doubting myself and my ability and end up doing nothing.
  9. Make and try a different soup each week. It is one of the few ways I can get SC to eat vegetables, and I’m a little tired of mud soup. I have just bought myself the Covent Garden Soup Company “365 Soups” book, so there should be some I can try ๐Ÿ˜‰ Looking at maple roasted parsnip soup for next week, or I might try brussel sprout soup ๐Ÿ˜‰
  10. Start writing my book – long shot one. I have a couple of good ideas, I just need to put them into some sort of coherent structure and plan it.

So, there you have it. 10 things I would like to get around to doing in 2014. Hopefully 75% of them are achievable and I will keep you updated of progress made.

What would you like to do next year?

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Knit 1, Purl 1


It’s on ‘the list’ as something I would like to learn to do. So far in my life I have not really given it a proper go.

My mum taught me the basic knit stitch when I was younger, but forget casting on and casting off. Even the basic stitch I was no good at, far to kack-handed.

Still, I put it on ‘the list’ as something to work towards learning.

I know I’m never to going to a super-knitter, but even if I can just make one project, I would consider it a success.

Anyway, before Christmas I bought a “Knitting Bible” book. It literally has everything you need to know about knitting. Stiches, projects, the works.

Who knew there were actually so many ways to cast on and off?

Yesterday SC decided he wanted to knit!

It happened that my mum had her knitting ladies over, so where better to pick up a few tips than with the experts from the WI?

We borrowed a set of needles and some wool and took ourselves off into another room to give it a go.

Open book and read instructions.

I must confess it took me at least 3 goes to actually get the first stitch on to the needle!

Then I looked at casting on, and thought it best to stick with what the book called the easiest castingย on technique – using ones thumb! To be honest, I found it a doddle.

Soย I successfully managed to cast on 10 stitches. Thought I’d start off small. Besides with 10 stitches I could at least attempt a scarf for SC’s teddy!

Then we started knitting.

The basic stitch I had remembered and within a while I seemed to fly!

And I still had 10 stitches – hoorah!

I then thought I’d be clever and try a row of purl stitch.

I tried 1 stitch – lots of blue smoke and decided just to stick with the tried and tested for this particular venture. I can always attempt purl next time.

After a couple of hours I had made a scarf long enough for teddy.

So here was the next challenge, casting off!

I still say you need several hands – I found it rather awkward, but I am extremely clumsy, so it was probably me.

Still I managed it – and I even managed to knot the scarf so it wouldn’t unravel.

It’s basic, not amazing, but I’ve done it, without dropping any stitches or adding any more.

Broken the duck, so to speak, and started.

It’s definitely not a completed, cross off the list challenge and definitely needs more work and perseverance, but it certainly wasn’t as daunting as I thought.

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