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Dementia Fidget Muff Pattern

a fidget muff is excellent for keeping busy hands occupied

Dementia patients are often frustrated with extra energy and a case of ‘the fidgets’ that can be alleviated by giving them something to do with their hands. I designed this muff with very soft yarn (such as Caron Simply Soft) to give a cozy place for warming cold fingers. By adding different textures through a variety of stitches and embellishments such as buttons, tassels, beads, and pompoms, idle fingers can find a variety of sensations. There are even hidden beads on the inside for added entertainment when just using it as a hand-warmer.

Notes

  • Finished size: 11" long x 15" around
  • Skill level: Intermediate
giving dementia patients something to keep their hands busy can help reduce anxiety

Materials list

  • Caron Simply Soft
    • Main Color - 6oz
    • Contrasting Color - 6oz
  • Crochet hook size H (5.0MM)
  • Yarn needle
  • 3 big, colorful buttons (1.25")
  • 30 pony beads, any color you like – 9mm
  • 48” of 3/8” ribbon
  • Sewing needle and thread to match MC
  • Stitch markers

*High-contrast colors are great for the visually impaired.

Stitches used

  • ch – chain
  • sl st – slip stitch
  • sc – single crochet
  • dc – double crochet
  • tr – treble crochet
  • flo sc – sc in the front loop only
  • blo sc – sc in the back loop only
  • fpdc – front post dc
  • bpdc – back post dc
  • puff stitch – y/o, pull up a loop in stitch indicated, y/o, pull through 2 loops on hook, [y/o, pull up a loop in same stich, y/o, pull through 2 loops on hook] 3 times, y/o pull through all 5 loops on hook, ch 1

Instructions

Outer Sleeve

Thread the three 1 ¼” buttons onto the MC yarn that you will be working with. I do this for added safety, sewing them on with only thread later is too easy to break. You will need to keep working them down the yarn as needed until you’re ready for them.

Chain 60. Being careful not to twist the chain, join with sl st to form a circle.

Crocheting into the back loop of the starting chain makes for a cleaner edge.

Round 1: ch 1, sc in the back ridge (see photo) of each chain around. Join to first sc with sl st. (60 sc)

Round 2: ch 1, blo sc in same stitch, [flo sc in next sc, blo sc in next sc] 29 times, flo sc in next sc. Join to first sc with sl st. (60 sc)

Round 3: ch 1, flo sc in same stitch, [blo sc in next sc, flo sc in next sc] 29 times, blo sc in next sc. Join to first sc with sl st. (60 sc)

Round 4: ch 3, [skip next sc, dc in next sc, ch 1] 29 times. Join with sl st to second ch of beginning ch 3. (30 dc, 30 ch 1 spaces)

Round 5: ch 1, sc in same stitch, [sc in next ch sp, sc in next dc] 29 times, sc in next ch 1 space. Join to first sc with sl st. (60 sc)

Round 6: repeat round 2

Round 7: repeat round 3

Round 8: ch 2 (does not count as first dc), dc in same space, dc in each sc around. Join to first dc with sl st. (60 dc)

Round 9: ch 2 (does not count as first dc), fpdc around first dc, [bpdc around next dc, fpdc around next dc] 29 times, bpdc around last dc. Join to first dc with sl st. (60 dc)

Round 10: ch 2 (does not count as first dc), fpdc around first fpdc, [bpdc around next bpdc, fpdc around next fpdc] 29 times, bpdc around last bpdc. Join to first dc with sl st. (60 dc)

Round 11: repeat round 10

Round 12: repeat round 10

Round 13: ch 1, sc same stitch, sc in each dc around (60 sc)

Round 14: ch 1, blo sc in same stitch, blo sc in each sc around. Join to first sc with sl st (60 sc)

Round 15: repeat round 2

Round 16: repeat round 3

Round 17: repeat round 2

Round 18: repeat round 3

Round 19 (button round): ch 1, blo sc in same stitch, [flo sc in next sc, blo sc in next sc] 5 times, mark last stitch with stich marker, slide the first button down and secure with a ch, flo sc in next stitch and mark with another stich marker, [blo sc in next sc, flo sc in next sc] 24 times. Join to first sc with sl st. (60 sc)

Round 20 (button round): ch 1, flo sc in same stitch, [blo sc in next sc, flo sc in next sc] 23 times, mark the last stitch with a stitch marker, slide the next button down and secure with a ch, blo in next sc and mark with a stitch marker, [flo sc in next sc, blo sc in next sc] 6 times. Join to first sc with sl st. (60 sc)

Round 21: repeat round 2

Round 22: repeat round 3

Round 23 (button round): ch 1, blo sc in same stich, [flo sc in next sc, blo sc in next sc] 14 times, mark the last stich with a stich marker, slide the last button down and secure with a ch, flo sc in next sc and mark with a stitch marker, [blo sc in next sc, flo sc in next sc] 15 times. Join to first sc with sl st. (60 sc)

Threading the buttons through the yarn helps make them more secure

Round 24: repeat round 3

Round 25: repeat round 2

Round 26: repeat round 3

Round 27: repeat round 2

Round 28: ch 1, blo sc in same stich, blo in each stitch around. Join to first sc with sl st. (60 sc)

Round 29: ch 1, sc in same stitch, [ch 5, skip next 4 sc, sc in next sc] 11 times, ch 3, join to first sc with dc. (12 ch spaces)

Round 30: ch 1, sc around same ch 5 space, [ch 5, sc in next ch 5 space] 11 times, ch 3, join to first sc with dc. (12 ch spaces)

Round 31: repeat round 30

Round 32: ch 1, 2 sc in same ch space, sc in next sc, [4 sc in next ch 5 space, sc in next sc] 11 times, 2 sc in first ch space. Join to first sc with sl st. (60 sc)

Round 33: repeat round 2

Round 34: repeat round 3

Round 35: ch 1, sc in same stitch, [puff stitch in next sc, sc in next sc] 29 times, puff stitch in last sc. Join to first sc with sl st. (30 sc, 30 puff st)

Round 36: ch 1, sc in same stitch, [sc in next puff st, sc in next sc] 29 times, sc in last puff st. Join to first sc with sl st. (60 sc)

Round 37: repeat round 2

Round 38: repeat round 3

Fasten off. Weave in ends.

Button Covers

What's the point of a button without a button-hole to put it in?

Button covers need some judgement to place correctly. If it isn’t lining up for you, adjust stitches right or left or add an extra row. They don’t need to be exact.

Using needle and matching thread, secure buttons tightly with several stitches.

Row 1: Using CC, and working in round 14 or round 28, whichever is closer to the button (these are the blo rounds, pick the one closer to the button you are working with), find the stich below the center of the button (see photo), count over 4 stitches, and attach yarn with an sc to the front loop only, sc in the front loop of the next 8 sc. (9 sc) *Photos taken by a lefty, so they may look backwards to you!

Row 2: turn, ch 1, flo sc in first sc, [blo sc in next sc, flo sc in next sc] 4 times (9 sc)

Row 3: repeat row 2

Row 4 (buttonhole row): turn, ch 1, flo sc in first sc, blo sc in next sc, flo sc in next sc, ch 3, skip next 3 sc, flo sc in next sc, blo sc in next sc, flo sc in next sc (6 sc, 3 ch)

Row 5: turn, ch 1, flo sc in first sc, blo sc in next sc, flo sc in next sc, 3 sc in ch 3 space, flo sc in next sc, blo sc in next sc, flo sc in next sc (9 sc)

Row 6: repeat row 2

Row 7: repeat row 2, fasten off

Repeat for the other two buttons, working in the front loops of either round 14 or 28, whichever is closer. If you need to add an extra row of sc before row 4 (buttonhole), to make it button comfortably, that is okay (usually needed on button #2). Weave in all ends.

Button Cover Trim

A pretty, high-contrast button cover helps them to stand out

Working in the same round where you attached the CC for button cover, count two stiches over and attach MC with a sl st. Sl st in next front loop, sl st in next front loop (same stitch you attached the CC to). Working around the button cover now, sl st evenly along outer edge, ending with sl st in next three front loops of the muff.

Ribbon

Weave the ribbon through the spaces of round 4. Tie with knot, then bow. Secure ribbon through 4-5 of the dc stitches with needle and thread.

Inner Sleeve

Pony beads on the inside provide texture and an added surprise

Round 1: Thread the 30 pony beads onto the CC yarn. Leaving a very long tail (90”), attach CC (with beads) to any stich of round 38 on the outer sleeve. Keeping tail to the right side, ch 1, sc in each stitch around. Join to first sc with sl st (60 sc)

Round 2 (bead round): ch 1, blo sc in same stitch, flo sc in next stitch, blo sc in next stitch, mark this stitch with a stitch marker, ch 5, [slide up a bead, ch 3] 4 times, slide up a bead, ch 2, (working back along the ch just made) sl st in 2nd ch from hook and each ch along the way back up (18 sl st), sl st in same stitch as last sc made, ch 3, [slide up a bead, ch 2] 5 times, sl st in 2nd ch from hook and each ch along the way back up (12 sl st), flo sc in next sc, mark with a stich marker (to know which stitches to use in the next round), ch 4, [slide a bead up, ch 3] 4 times, slide a bead up, ch 2, sl st in 2nd ch from hook and each ch along the way back up (17 sl st), [blo sc in next sc, flo sc in next sc] 28 times. Join to first sc with sl st. (60 sc) – Make sure to always keep the chains with beads on the right side.

Round 3: repeat round 3 from Outer Sleeve

Rounds 4 – 23: repeat rounds 2 & 3 from Outer Sleeve

Round 24 (bead round): ch 1, blo sc in same stitch, [flo sc in next stitch, blo sc in next stitch] 13 times, mark last stitch with stitch marker, , ch 5, [slide up a bead, ch 3] 4 times, slide up a bead, ch 2, (working back along the ch just made) sl st in 2nd ch from hook and each ch along the way back up (18 sl st), sl st in same stitch as last sc made, ch 3, [slide up a bead, ch 2] 5 times, sl st in 2nd ch from hook and each ch along the way back up (12 sl st), flo sc in next sc, mark with a stich marker (to know which stitches to use in the next round), ch 4, [slide a bead up, ch 3] 4 times, slide a bead up, ch 2, sl st in 2nd ch from hook and each ch along the way back up (17 sl st), [blo sc in next sc, flo sc in next sc] 16 times. Join to first sc with sl st. {60 sc). Again, make sure to keep the bead chains on the right side.

Round 25: repeat round 3 from Outer Sleeve

Rounds 26-45: repeat rounds 2 and 3 from Outer Sleeve. Do not fasten off.

The inner sleeve will fit inside the outer for texture, warmth, and contrast

Joining and Finishing

Make sure the two halves are joined securely

Tuck the inner sleeve through the outer sleeve, keeping wrong sides together (buttons on the outside, bead strings will be on the inside where you can hold them). Being careful not to twist the two sleeves, match up round 45 of inner sleeve with round 1 of outer sleeve and ch 1, then slip stitch the two layers together. (60 sl st) Cut yarn, pull through to the inside, secure and weave in end.

On the other end, working with the long tail that you left, thread it onto a yarn needle and pass through to outside, insert hook in/near the same spot and pull up a loop to the inside. Slip stitch around, matching the look of the slip stitches on the other end as closely as possible. (60 sl st) Pull yarn through to the inside, secure and weave in end.

Tassel

Cut 11 pieces of CC yarn 20” long. Cut one piece of MC 26” long. Taking 10 pieces of the CC, fold them in half and secure at the top with the MC piece using a knot. Using the yarn needle, thread one side of the MC through the outer sleeve somewhere near the ribbon (or anywhere you like, really. Secure with a knot. Using the last piece of CC, wrap around the tassel several times (about 1.5” down from middle), secure with a knot every couple of passes. Trim ends to desired length.

Beads on the inside give added stimulation Use any color combination