Balls of wool

Ideas to help a person with dementia enjoy wool crafts

Activity ideas using wool in different ways so that someone can continue to create and be engaged and stimulated.

Wool crafts can be satisfying and enjoyable, for our own pleasure and to make gifts for others.

They include anything from knitting, crochet and sewing or weaving with wool, to making pom-poms, amigurumi (Japanese crocheted animals) or yarn hair braids.

Woolly notions 

You can find ideas and resources online (including ‘how to’ video tutorials) and in libraries and bookshops.

Charities such as Knit-a-square and Woolly Hugs provide instructions to knit or crochet parts of blankets to donate for people who need them. 

Local knitting and other groups can be a great experience. Even while unable to meet up due to coronavirus, many have still shared photos and tips on social media and stayed in touch in other ways. 

Changing yarns 

Wool crafts can be adapted to suit a person’s abilities as dementia progresses.

This could mean moving from complex to simple patterns, or from patterns to block colours or plain knit.

Someone else could help prepare by, for example, threading needles or casting on and off.

Switching between crafts, such as from knitting to embroidery, may also work for some. 

People in the later stages of dementia could enjoy feeling wool textures. They might like sorting or rummaging through a crochet kit or unravelling and rewinding wool. 

If you’re supporting someone with dementia and you enjoy wool crafts, spending time with the person while you’re crafting can be a source of comfort and familiarity.

What you said...

Dee Tom, on Talking Point, says,

‘Mum was an experienced knitter but now only manages scarves. There are a lot of holes these days and she gets cross when she realises they are there. We have a method to “celebrate” them – either with a contrasting colour of wool or, sometimes, a piece of thin ribbon, we create a little bow which closes up the hole and adds character. We love it!’

Helly68 says,

‘Eventually Mummy enjoyed watching me sew, and seeing the results when she was no longer able to sew or knit herself. I also make braid using the historical version of a dolly bobbin, which some may remember from childhood. Techniques like this, and darning, can be of interest as a memory of something they did, which has largely fallen out of fashion. It can spark reminiscence.’

A dolly bobbin (photograph: Oswald's Imaginarium)

A dolly bobbin (photograph: Oswald's Imaginarium).

Dementia together magazine: June/July 21

Dementia together magazine is for all Alzheimer’s Society supporters and anyone affected by the condition.
Subscribe now
Dementia together magazine is for all Alzheimer’s Society supporters and anyone affected by the condition.
Subscribe now