“And, the purple one was my favorite”, she said. “I saved that outfit for special occasions.” Then, after a pause, “I think I even wore it to Steak-n-Shake once!”, giggling as the words tumbled out unexpectedly. I never tired hearing grandma’s recounting of where those swatches of cloth came from, that now so perfectly fit together in the handmade blanket.
Today, I have that blanket and wrap myself in it occasionally. Mostly, though, it rests on my daughter’s bed. When I told her the stories behind the not-so-attractive-at-first-glance blanket, she begged me to let her have it…and I’ve rarely seen it since.
A Gift to Comfort and Trigger Memories
All you have to do is a quick search on Etsy or Pinterest, for example, to find some pretty amazing Fidget Quilts! Marketed primarily to caregivers whose loved ones are suffering from Alzheimer’s, Dementia, or Stroke, these quilts are designed to help with restless hands, boredom or anxious fidgeting. They’re quite soothing also in calming agitation.
Some of them are pretty detailed, with everything from tools for men to jewelry for women stitched onto the material….and much, much more as you can see in the sampling I snagged off of Etsy. They are a work of art!
In addition to keeping hands and minds busy, they also provide a little break for caregivers, even if for a few minutes at a time.
As a cheaper and perhaps more personal alternative, you can make one yourself. Take this blanket, made out of my grandma and grandpa’s old wool clothes, it deceptively looks like a quilt, but it’s not!
Using clothes cut into squares and sewn together, they are easily hand stitched together. If you’re going for a big one, a sewing machine might make it easier. For the reverse side, all you need is one piece of lightweight cotton fabric. Stitch the front and back together and attach knots to the blanket to make it look more like a quilt. That’s it!
Do-it-yourself blankets are filled with so many memories. The familiarity and personal connection provides an added comfort bonus.
Be creative. Attach some of their jewelry or favorite things. Or, instead of their clothes, use some of your old baby clothes they saved or old table cloths or whatever strikes you! The possibilities are endless.
A lot of love went into each knot that was tied in this old blanket of mine. My mom recalls the work as “a labor of love”. And, love is exactly right. I can still see my grandma’s fingers playing with those knots, twisting them and rolling them around between her fingers.
Today you may be gifting one of these to your loved one. Down the road, that gift can return to you filled with even more memories and cherished moments. Eventually you might decide to pass along this gift to someone else. And, each knot will continue to tell a story of the love in all those fingers it’s touched.