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Two of Revera's Knotty Knitters working on a project

Meet Revera’s Knotty Knitters

Helping others through knitting
A band of Revera residents in Ottawa are putting their knitting skills to work to help support others. The ‘Knotty Knitters’ group spends their free time knitting special sensory muffs that are designed to help stimulate the restless hands of people living with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. The fittingly named ‘twiddlemuffs’ have different attachments, such as buttons, zippers and bobs, that give the wearer something to occupy their restless hands and calms the anxiety that is often a symptom of their condition.

Millie Selles is a member of the Knotty Knitters. At 95 years young, Millie says she’s a passionate crafter. “I made and sold crafts at Cobden Farms Market (in the Ottawa Valley) for many years, so the knitting group at Queenswood Villa was a natural fit for me.” The retired nurse says she didn’t understand how useful the twiddlemuffs would be at first, but after making the special muffs for several years she can appreciate how helpful they must be to nurses who support people with Alzheimer’s.
Volunteering your time and talent to create something that can help others gives us a sense of purpose.
Revera’s Knotty Knitters send twiddlemuffs to Ottawa Hospitals and other Revera residences and Long Term Care Homes wherever there’s a need. “Nurses and caregivers love our twiddlemuffs, which make their jobs easier,” says Christine O’Grady, a sales consultant at Revera’s Queenswood Villa and Ogilvie Villa Retirement Residences. “Families are very appreciative of our knitters’ work as well.” All twiddlemuffs are donated free of charge, and yarn as well as bits and bobs are donated by the community, friends and family of the residents.

“Twiddlemuffs are quite a lot of work,” says Mrs. Selles. First you have to knit or crochet the muff using different textures of yarn. Then, once that’s completed the decorating begins. “Decorating the muffs requires a fair amount of creativity, which for me is the fun part,” she says. The knitters use buttons, lace, fur, zippers, beads and other items that would provide the best sensory stimulation for the person wearing it.

Apart from being a fun activity for the Knotty Knitters, making twiddlemuffs has been a rewarding experience. “I think the best part of making twiddlemuffs is knowing that we are helping,” says Mrs. Selles. “Volunteering your time and talent to create something that can help others gives us a sense of purpose. It’s good for the soul.”