Friday, 25 September 2015

Creative Corner: Fidget Quilts

I was recently asked by a lady called Francesca, if I could make her a Fidget Quilt. I had heard of these before but not made any. After a quick pinterest search, I found tons of them! Basically, a fidget quilt is a small quilt or blanket which features lots of little things to keep fingers busy. So zips to pull, buttons and press studs to do up, tassels, beads, sequins and trimmings all to help with nervous hands.

The quilt was for Francesca's elderly mother who was living in a care home back in England. She had just suffered a stroke and confined to a chair/bed. Francesca wanted to have a fidget quilt made for her mother, firstly so that it gave her something to do, something to think about and fiddle with. But also, one particular requirement was for it to have a space to put a picture of Francesca. She was saddened to hear from her mother that she didn't think of her unless she was there with her. So to combat this, we added a plastic wallet to place in a photo of her for her mother, so she was there every time her mother used the quilt.

I began by making a simple patchwork front. I used squares from fabrics Francesca had chosen especially for her mother. I then attached various trimmings and components to the quilt that would give her mother something to play with. Francesca chose a lot of the pieces herself, things she thought her mum would enjoy. I also helped by adding a few crochet twirly tails and some hearts and flowers.

It was important to include as many different textures and surfaces as possible, to give interest for her fingers to touch. Some things move, like the zip, buttons along pieces of ribbon and the ribbons and fabrics to plait and run your fingers through. Some parts are securely sewn on in place, but provide other sensory distractions, like light reflecting off sequins, soft microfiber yarn butterflies and hearts.

The whole blanket has been quilted onto wadding and finished off with a nice spotty cotton back and bound round the edge with homemade matching binding.

After showing the quilt on my facebook page, I then had another request for one. This time, a smaller handheld one for a ladies daughter. Her family had not long moved to Dubai and her young daughter was finding all the change a little hard to cope with, showing anxious and nervous energy. So I made this smaller one just for her, using colours that she likes and much of the same fiddle ideas from the first one.

I have really enjoyed making these fidget quilts. Not only because I love getting the sewing machine out and working with fabric again, but also because I feel they are really filling a need. They look lovely, but also hopefully will help them mentally also. I hope both girls, young and old, enjoy these quilts and get some enjoyment out of them.

If you have ever made a fidget quilt or anything similar, I would love to hear about it! If you are thinking of making one and would like more info, feel free to contact me! 


  1. These are brilliant! I'd never heard of these before but what a great idea! My Baby would love this. She's at that age where she likes to explore.

  2. So cool! This is the first I've heard of a fidget quilt, but what a brilliant idea! How old was the little girl you made one for? I'm wondering if my 13-month old might stay out of trouble on long drives in the car with something like this...

    1. The little girl I made it for is about 9 or 10 I think. It would be a great idea for little toddlers, although you would have to be extra careful that everything was baby proof and sewn on securely. Maybe have a little google search for quiet books too, my son has one and they are great for journeys.

    2. Your fidget quilts are terrific!

      I made some, donated to a nursing home for residents who cannot participate in the more active group activities some residents enjoy.
      I try to follow sort of a theme, but they seem to develop a life of their own before I'm done.
      If you'd like to look:

      I always thought that when I retired, I would crochet. Not so. Your yarn work is marvelous.

  3. I made a similar thing in a book form when my girls were little but I think a quilt is an excellent idea.I might try and make one. :)

  4. I have made them as baby gifts. I call them learning quilts. Buttons that go through a button hole. Zippers that close a pocket, stuffed toys for pockets. Squares, circles, triangles, to set on a quilt block the same shape. Snaps to snap...

  5. I have made them as baby gifts. I call them learning quilts. Buttons that go through a button hole. Zippers that close a pocket, stuffed toys for pockets. Squares, circles, triangles, to set on a quilt block the same shape. Snaps to snap...

  6. I have been making fidget quilts for many years now, I have supplied care homes, hospitals, private folk, all donated . They are quite addictive and Great fun to make. One tip, I would add a knotted, ribbon, cord, to your zip pull. Those frail fingers need additional help,grasping smaller things. Great fun to make and we have donated to many worth while causes from dementia, stroke , autism, children and young adults with anxiety.

  7. I'm giving a talk to my quilt guild about using buttons on quilts. May I have your permission to use your photo of the buttons on the green ribbons? I will give you credit for the one-time use.

  8. I recently found your posts about the activity quilts. I am a retired LPN and part time tutor presently. I have discovered I love quilting immensely. I have been participating in making lap quilts for a local nursing home. I viewed many patients needing to "fidget" on our last visit, I want to make these activity quilts. Thank you for sharing your ideas.

  9. Love this idea. Love the buttons and buckle that slide along fabric. One cautionary comment: My mother (who has passed now) would have had those sequins off in a flash, and in her mouth! If sparkly beads or sequins are added, please make sure they are well sewn down, not just glued. Also something that makes a little sound, like those small craft-sized Christmas bells, might be nice. Great job on your blanket. You have inspired me.


I love to hear your comments so keep 'em coming!! Feel free to post links to your own blogs if you think i'll like them too!