Alzheimers Fidget Quilt

Introduction: Alzheimers Fidget Quilt

An Alzheimers Fidget Quilt is a lap-size activity quilt made with different textured fabrics and embellished with assorted "fidget" objects that attract the nervous hands of Alzheimer's and dementia patients and stimulate their senses. We make these for residents in the Memory Care unit of our retirement community. We see daily how these artistic creations are treasured and how they bring comfort and a feeling of security.

Steps:

  1. Wash all fabric before cutting it. Then cut and iron 9 (nine) 6” fabric squares of different textures and colors.
  2. Select Fidget Objects for each 6" square. These quilts will get lots of love. When selecting fidget objects, be creative, but keep in mind the quilt will need to be washed periodically (in hot water) and avoid anything that could be harmful to the user. Some Fidget object favorites include:

    <> Movable items large enough to grasp or pull with hands (i.e. plastic or wooden beads or empty spools of thread, belt buckles etc.)
    <> Loose soft and silky tactile objects (i.e. soft, fluffy yarn, ribbons or fabric swatches).Small objects that make noise or that can be picked up (i.e. small light-weight bells or keys that can be put in and pulled out of a pocket); nothing too small that is difficult to grasp.
    <> A pocket with something attached by ribbon or sturdy string that can be put into and taken out of the pocket. Pockets can be made of fabric or taken from a garment and stitched in place.
    <> A small stretch-coiled wrist band with a key or other object attached (nothing sharp or heavy).
    <> Velcro strips that are easy to grasp and to open and close.
    <> Simple is best (a single cord is better than a woven maze). Shoe laces tend to be too cumbersome to lace up or tie, but can be used as a single cord for sliding objects. Bigger is better in most cases, things that are easy to grasp. Only very large, easy-to-slide zippers and large, colorful buttons (without button holes) are recommended. Rickrack or colorful fabric strips can be sewn across a square to add a pop of color or texture.
    <> FINAL NOTE: Don't expect one quilt to be shared. Individuals become attached to "their quilt".

  3. Design each 6” square separately using your fidget objects.
    Securely sew fidget objects to the front of each 6” square.
    Lay out the 9 embellished fabric squares in three rows of three.
    Sew the 3 squares in each row together side-by-side with a 1/2-inch seam allowance.
    Sew each row to the following row (row 1 to row 2 and row 3 to row 2) to form a 9 patch square.
    Optional: You can sew a 1-1/2” border of flannel fabric around the 9 patch square, with 1/2” seam allowance.
  4. Cut flannel backing to exact size of finished 9-patch square (or 9-patch square with border).
    With facing sides* together sew front of quilt edges to back of quilt edges (with 1/2” seam allowance), leaving a 4” opening to turn the quilt inside out. (*Facing sides: the pattern side of the flannel fabric back and the fidget objects side of the front).
    Push the four corners out with your fingers.
    Iron the quilt, including the turned-under edges of the 4” opening. Don’t sew it closed yet.
    Machine stitch front to back over the seam lines between each square with a 3.0 length machine stitch (known as stitching in the ditch).
    NOTE: If you included an optional border, machine stitch around the border next to the 9-patch square.
    Machine stitch around the outer edge of the fidget quilt ... this will close the 4” opening.

Supplies

  1. Sewing machine and Iron
  2. Nine different 6" squares of colorful, fun fabrics. Different fabrics and attachments will appeal to different people based on their stage of the disease.
  3. Fidget items for each square (see list of Fidget Favorites*).
  4. Soft fabric for backing. Flannel works best because it is warm and comforting. (NOTE: If you include an "optional" 3-inch border on the front side, you will need expand the yardage of backing fabric needed.)

Step 1: Select and Prepare Your Fabric

  • Wash all fabric before cutting it.
  • Then cut and iron 9 (nine) 6” fabric squares of different textures and colors.

Step 2: Select Your Fidget Objects

Select Fidget Objects for each 6" square. These quilts will get lots of love. When selecting fidget objects, be creative, but keep in mind the quilt will need to be washed periodically (in hot water) and avoid anything that could be harmful to the user. Some Fidget object favorites include:

  • Movable items large enough to grasp or pull with hands (i.e. plastic or wooden beads or empty spools of thread, belt buckles etc.)
  • Loose soft and silky tactile objects (i.e. soft, fluffy yarn, ribbons or fabric swatches).Small objects that make noise or that can be picked up (i.e. small light-weight bells or keys that can be put in and pulled out of a pocket); nothing too small that is difficult to grasp.
  • A pocket with something attached by ribbon or sturdy string that can be put into and taken out of the pocket. Pockets can be made of fabric or taken from a garment and stitched in place.
  • A small stretch-coiled wrist band with a key or other object attached (nothing sharp or heavy).
  • Velcro strips that are easy to grasp and to open and close.
  • Simple is best (a single cord is better than a woven maze). Shoe laces tend to be too cumbersome to lace up or tie, but can be used as a single cord for sliding objects.Bigger is better in most cases, things that are easy to grasp. Only very large, easy-to-slide zippers and large, colorful buttons (without button holes) are recommended. Rickrack or colorful fabric strips can be sewn across a square to add a pop of color or texture.
  • FINAL NOTE: Don't expect one quilt to be shared. Individuals become attached to "their quilt".

Step 3: Design Each Square and Overall Layout

  • Design each 6” square separately using your fidget objects.
  • Securely sew fidget objects to the front of each 6” square.
  • Lay out the 9 embellished fabric squares in three rows of three.
  • Sew the 3 squares in each row together side-by-side with a 1/2-inch seam allowance.
  • Sew each row to the following row (row 1 to row 2 and row 3 to row 2) to form a 9 patch square.
  • Optional: You can sew a 1-1/2” border of flannel fabric around the 9 patch square, with 1/2” seam allowance.

Step 4: Attach Backing and Finish Sewing

  • Cut flannel backing to exact size of finished 9-patch square (or 9-patch square with border).
  • With facing sides* together sew front of quilt edges to back of quilt edges (with 1/2” seam allowance), leaving a 4” opening to turn the quilt inside out. (*Facing sides are the pattern side of the flannel fabric back + the fidget objects side of the front).
  • Push the four corners out with your fingers. Iron the quilt, including the turned-under edges of the 4” opening. Don’t sew it closed yet.
  • Machine stitch front to back over the seam lines between each square with a 3.0 length machine stitch (known as stitching in the ditch).
  • If you included an optional border, machine stitch around the border next to the 9-patch square.
  • Machine stitch around the outer edge of the fidget quilt ... this will close the 4” opening.

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    2 Comments

    0
    Penolopy Bulnick
    Penolopy Bulnick

    1 year ago

    That's a cute idea! I'm sure my daughter would like it too :)

    0
    JodyGrawey
    JodyGrawey

    Reply 1 year ago

    Let me know if you or your daughter make one and if you have any questions. I'm sure anyone with Alzheimers would love to have one. It's amazing how attached they get to them. It makes you feel like you're doing something to help them enjoy their days just a little bit more.