A few months ago, the refashionista posted a tutorial on “fidget quilts” for Alzheimer’s patients. I was so inspired by that post that I decided to make one for my Nanny who happens to be in the advanced stages of this disease.
This is what the final product looked like. I made it solely from scraps. Here’s how I did it:
I used 1 fat quarter as a template for size. Ideally, these should just be big enough to fit in a lap; not a full size quilt. I figured a fat quarter would be the perfect size. I had one fat quarter left from my gift package I got at the Fat Quarter Shop for my participation in Refashion Runway last summer.
The printed fabric are scraps from other projects. Blue sparkles are from my New Year’s Eve blouse I made. Blue eyelet fabric and leaves are from Failed refashions… yes, they happen to me *frequently*!
Once I sewed those together, I began the next step of adding embellishments.
People with Alzheimer’s are always “busy” (fidgeting) with things because touch is the last of their faculties that they can respond to. They get very anxious and restless… I know my Nanny is always tugging at her clothes, or picking at her skin or, yes, even taking objects that don’t belong to her and hiding them away some place. She’s just always got to be busying herself so I was sure to incorporate items that were especially tactile.
After I sewed down all the embellishments, it looked like this:
The embellishments will provide that sense of touch she craves, but the fabric itself it pretty tactile: the scratchiness of the sequins, the stiff upholstery of the leaves, the eyelets in the aqua…
Before I added the binding around the edges, I decided to go a bit deeper by adding decorative stitches in the ditch between scraps.
I chose a different decorative stitch for each. I also used different thread, including metallic. I really wanted this to be sensory over load.
For the binding I used, again, scraps and existing binding I discarded from previous refashions. The floral came from week 1 of Refashion Runway, and the checkered material came from my Memorial Day Dress.
For it to be a “quilt” I did use some batting that was a freebie from a quilt show I attended (as a vendor for my full time job) in 2014. I sandwiched the batting between the top embellished piece and the 1 full sized fat quarter I used as a template. Then, I added the binding around the edges.
Before I quilted this all together, I did make a patch on the back. It says: “To Nanny From Laura” and her full name is underneath it. It’s a bit croocked… my bad. I did an applique stitch around the edges of the patch.
Nanny’s Fidget Quilt was finished 🙂
I haven’t seen my Nanny in nearly a year. Her disease is so advanced she’s at the point where she doesn’t know who I am anymore. Visiting her would do more harm to her than good so I stay away. My mom visits her often enough that (even though Nanny doesn’t really know my mom either the routine of seeing her frequently doesn’t seem to bother her).
I heard that she enjoyed her quilt 🙂
The staff at her facility also really liked the idea. I think I’ll make a few more of these and donate them to residents.
Though a bit time consuming (and sad by its nature) this was an easy and, dare I say, “fun” project. I was able to use up otherwise useless scraps, and put them toward a cause dear to my heart, my Nanny 🙂