Twiddlemuff challenge

For Dementia Awareness week earlier this year we launched a Twiddlemuff Challenge in the Forest of Dean; over eleven hundred beautiful Twiddlemuffs were created by members of the community - see below details of some of the twiddlemuff creators we met!  And people are still creating them!  

Do you know someone who would benefit from having a Twiddlemuff?

If you would like one please contact either: 

  • Andrew Morgan-Watts on 01594 529381  email or
  • Lena Maller, Community Engagement Officer at the district council on 01594 812609  email
  • Simply call into the Reception at the district council office in Coleford to pick one up!

Twiddlemuffs are a knitted hand muff with interesting bits and bobs attached inside and outside.

They have been designed and developed to provide simple stimulation for active hands, while promoting increased flexibility and brain stimulation. Bradford Teaching Hospital NHS Trust, who have developed use of these within their hospital say many patients with dementia have found the Twiddlemuff reassuring and comforting.

Twiddlemuff creators

People all over the district have been busy creating Twiddlemuffs for Dementia Awareness Week, below are some of the stories:

Crafty VIPsCrafty VIP Twiddlemuffs

The Crafty VIP's who meet at Crawshaw Place in Cinderford

One of the first groups to contact us to let us know they were getting involved in this challenge.   For an experienced knitter like these ladies the instructions are okay to follow, but a number of people wanting to get invovled wanted to see a Twddlemuff so the Crafty VIP's handed in some of their completed Twiddlemuffs so that others could see an example.  

They also contacted the Citizen and an article was published about the Twiddlemuff Challenge, from that article others got involved, bringing their friends together to make Twiddlemuffs, like Barbara Lilwall who lives in Newnham...... 

NewnhamBarbara Lilwall from Newnham saw the article via Facebook, in the Citizen of the Crafty V.I.P’s knitting Twiddlemuffs for Dementia Awareness Week (17-23rd May) and noticed a friend  in the photo, so she contacted Ann Kent who forwarded the pattern to her. 

Barbara then posted an invite on her Facebook, attaching the article, inviting her friends and family to join her for a Twiddlemuff knitting session at her home, with lunch and nice conversation!
Barbara hasn’t ventured much into her living room in recent years after the loss of her husband; now she has started sharing her beautiful views with her friends and family creating Twiddlemufffs.  Barbara said “it feels good to be doing something which will really make a difference to someone living with dementia.” 
After reading the post, Doris March (ex Whitehouse) who had moved from Newnham to Churchdown twelve years ago, decided to drive down and join in the fun!
Barbara lost a close friend a year ago to dementia; creating Twiddlemuffs has felt a fulfilling way to remember her friend.  Barbara’s daughter, Michele Peacey who lives in Cinderford, hasn’t knitted for 30 years but has also started creating Twiddlemuffs with great success.   The group are going to give their creations to Westbury Court Care Home. They have a number of connections with the care home; besides working there many years ago, Barbara’s friend Zoe Rogers, 19, works there as a part time care assistant.  Zoe is also studying at college and is unable to join the group so she has contributed wool.  Michele’s husband’s grandmother, who has dementia, also lives at the care home.  When the group gets together they pool their wool, buttons and ribbons to make their creations.
Other members are Dawn Parry, who lives in Lydney, who took the day off to join in and another friend, Jackie Weller is knitting Twiddlemuffs, as well as a craft group in Woolaston.

The group continues to grow; a friend of Michelle’s from Cinderford, Sam Roberts, was also hoping to join them.

Ladies from Dr Charley’s lunch club have been busy creating nearly 100 Twiddlemuffs.

Group picture Dot and Linda

MaryDot (in the pink cardigan) was encouraged to get involved by Brenda,one of Dr Charley’s committee members. Since finding out about it she has been encouraging everyone she can to get involved. Some people have donated wool and some people have knitted a muff, others have done the decorating. Dot was very keen for people to know she had knitted some but others had knitted many more – lots have people have got involved. 

A friend of Dot’s, Joan Maxfield from English Bicknor, donated some wool but also encouraged her friends and neighbours to do the same, one lady donated lots of wool she found in her attic!  Dot then distributed this to others – people in the group and the pupils at Lakers School as they want to start creating!  Vicky Fletcher’s mum, who passed away last Christmas, had dementia and she wanted to get involved but is unable to knit because of her osteoporosis, she has been buying wool for others in the group. Infact she has bought three lots of wool for people!

Some people knitted the muff then passed them onto Dot, Brenda and Glynis (both committee members of Dr Charley’s) to fix on the bits and bobs, so a real team effort.  When Dot's hand got tired her neighbour helped her out.

Mary Childs knitted thirty-two of those donated and Wendy Arnold who volunteers at Dr Charley’s had knitted fourteen Twiddlemuffs. 

Ross ladies

When Wendy started she put a notice in her local post office asking people if they could donate any unused wool; she has been very pleased with the response, which has contributed to her collection.

A friend of a friend, Shirley who lives in Cinderford, has knitted seven Twiddlemuffs and Dot did the decorating….  
Dot who is 89 this year told her 90 year old sister who lives in Wales about the challenge and she knitted one too.  Her younger sister, Christine, who lives in Reading has also been knitting them with her friends at church for their community.

Ann Morris, a friend of Sally Lomax who volunteers for Artspace in Cinderford on the MindSCAPE project, started knitting Twiddlemuffs with a group of friends who meet regularly at the Globetrotter Cafe in Ross-on-Wye and created three bags full of Twiddlemuffs! 

Sam Chilton and his mumSam Chilton, aged 7 3/4 with a little help from Nanny.

Sam, who goes to Ellwood Community Primary School, and his mum Sally popped into the district council to hand in the Twiddlemuff Sam made with the support of his Nanny.  Sally said Sam's granddad had dementia when he passed away and felt that a twiddlemuff would have helped him a lot.  Sam's Nanny made four Twiddlemuffs, Sally helped sow on the bits and bobs and Nanny's friend made two.  




The ladies at Goode Court, Lydney

This is Roselle George, the lady in red, knitted twenty Twiddlemuffs - and is still knitting!  Iris Preece knitted ten.

Goode Court

SylviaSylvia Kerridge from Clearwell 

With her friends and neighbours Sylvia has contriubted fifty-six Twiddlemuffs!

Thirty-five of these were knitted by Sylvia herself, the rest are by some of her friends -  Jane, Greta Oliver from Staunton, Coleford,  Jasmine Swift, Julie Fissenden and Jane Mcbean.

Sylvia has spread the word via her networks which include friends in Essex and via her daughter who lives in Wales...Slyvia sent some Twiddlemuffs to her daughter so she could give to her community. 


Twiddlemuffs from Walking for Health at Yorkley community centre

 Walking for healthSome members from other Walking for Health groups in the district have handed in their Twiddlemuffs to the libraries. 

One member knitted a twiddlemuff for her grandson so that he could take it into his school (Forest High School in Cinderford) to show his class; who are learning about dementia within thier enrichment programme.  They are going to share their learning with the rest of the school in assemblies during Dementia Awareness week and visit Gloucestershire Radio.

Mary Davis, a local resident and organiser of the Evergreen Club for the over 50's, is going to be running an after school knitting club with teacher Karen Rogers after half term so that they too can make Twiddlemuffs for their community!


KnitwitsTwenty Twiddlemuffs created by the “Knitwits”

The "Knitwits" meet every Wednesday between 10-12pm at Zig Zag’s in Coleford.

Some of the members pictured are Mary Milner, Norah Stone, Jenny Sheasby, Janice Dodd, Sue Giles, Deb Burris.

Deb created two of the Twiddlemuffs in this picture with her nine year old daughter who made and attached loom bands. They made another ten which Deb’s mum gave to a care home …………

Knitwits create "things" for a number of different charities and are planning to keep knitting Twiddlemuffs for the community!


MargaretMargaret Gooch who lives at Staverton near Cheltenham has knitted Twiddlemuffs for the Forest of Dean and the community where she lives. 

Margaret also adapted the Twiddlemuff pattern to create one for a friend in Littledean who has a condition effecting his circulation; his was longer for warmth. 

Margaret has been spreading the word to her neighbours too; Ann lives round the corner and has knitted some Twiddlemuffs for  a local childrens centre..

 Sixty-three Twiddlemuffs from "Sheila's" shop in Sedbury

Murial Evans, 90, pictured below far left,  knitted forty of these Twiddlemuffs! Other contibutors are Sheila and Angela Hughes with supporter Michelle Parr, Sheila's daughter.

Shelia's ariel view

  Thirty-two Twiddlemuffs collected so far from Coleford library

Coleford Library


One hundred and thirty-five collected from Lydney library



Sixty-three collected from Cinderford library

Cinderford Library

The Crafty VIPs handed in more Twiddlemuffs they created at Cinderford library, bringing their total to thirty! 

They also went on Gloucestershire Radio this morning (Thursday 14th May) to raise awareness of Dementia Awareness week.

Crafty VIPs at the Library


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