What is a Therapeutic Hand Muff?
It’s a basic knitted muff using different yarn textures and colours. Items, such as beads, buttons and ribbons, are then attached (inside and outside) to provide even more tactile stimulation. People with dementia often have restless hands and can be soothed by having something to keep their hands occupied. The muff provides a source of visual, tactile and sensory stimulation at the same time as keeping hands snug and warm.
The muff is knit in one long tube which is double the length of the final size. Once you are finished, you will push the interior up inside and sew the two ends together. If using straight needles you will knit a rectangle and sew up the sides first.
If using straight needles: lightly iron the long strip, then neatly join the sides together using edge to edge stitch (with the knit side facing out). At this point you should have a tube.
Now it’s time to sew on the tactile items. Suggestions include: buttons, beads (in strings or separately), ribbons, small wooden toys or shapes, patches of leather, knitted/crocheted pockets and flowers, zippers, loops, pompoms, etc. Avoid using delicate items such as feathers, items with sharp edges or points, heavy or large items or anything that could tear or break and cause harm. It’s best if items are washable.
It is very important to securely attach the items. Use fishing line, leather string or embroidery thread. Attach each item to a large button on the back of the work as an anchor. The muff will be doubled up so these anchor buttons won’t be visible on the end product.
Attach 2 or 3 items inside the muff (things to grab on to such as large wooden beads, pompoms, etc.) and a few things on the outside. When you have completed attaching items, push the inside half up inside the muff body and sew the two ends together using a neat edge to edge stitch.