Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Fidgety Fingers

I recently found myself absentmindedly stroking some fabric the other day.  I was thinking about my next trip down to see my mom while I had been sewing the binding on one of the quilts I had recently made and I looked down and there I was, stroking the fabric.  

I have often seen my mother do this, stroke something.  Not that different than my elder son who used to rub the satin binding on his blanket as he fell asleep.  Sometimes Mom's fingers are moving around quite busily, like they are looking for the right thing to touch.  And if I thought about it, I would recognize that many of the people who live in the same center as does my mother have these same busy hands. I have come to learn that these fidgety fingers is very common in people with dementia and who have Alzheimer's Disease.  But it wasn't until I read Michele Bilyeu's blog, With Heart and Hands, that I came to realize I could do something to help.

Michele's fidget blankets; photo taken from her website
Michele started making Fidget Blankets.  They were simple quilted small lap blankets that had tags to feel, different fabrics for tactile stimulation, and comfortable backings for soothing cuddliness. She has bright colors along side soothing/restful colors.

As you can see in this picture I took from Michele's website, the blankets are simple and yet very useful.  She told me that using flannel and fleece and other soft fabrics for backing of the blankets is perfect.  She also said they were sandwiched with thin batting.

I asked the Activity Director where my mother resides if she would be interested in blankets such as these and she was very happy.  The fidget blankets she has are traditional ones, which she finds disappointing.  She liked the simplicity of the ones Michele had made.  They will be easy to wash and not at all confusing to the residents.  So I promised to make her some.  I am thinking maybe five to start and grow from there.

So today I started the cutting.  Like Michele, I am making a simple 9-patch.  I cut out four-inch squares from gobs of scraps.  I have no color scheme in mind, but will make multi-colored blankets.  As I was cutting, I came across two 'kerchiefs I had saved from the last Alzheimer's fundraising walk.  I had no plans for them when I saved them but what is better for a Fidget Blanket than 'kerchiefs from an Alzheimer's walk? 

I have plenty of fabrics.  I have flannels, cottons, and even a pile of satin(ish) fabrics for the 9-patch blocks. I have flannel and fleece and even a bit of Minkee (thanks to my friend Val!) for backing.  I have yards of ribbons and rickrack and other goodies for the tabs.  I believe I will "birth" the blankets rather than bind them...not sure yet. 
Now I am off to sew.  Anyone care to join me?


Scrappy quilter said...

I told someone today and 90% of quilters are incredible in their gifting to others. I've followed Michele's blog for a long time and have seen the wonderful work she had for Alzheimers. It's wonderful to see what you are now doing. Hugs

Linda said...

I cherish the quilt you made for me. You have such a good heart, Doris. I love the idea of Fidget Blankets.