Quilts to provide comfort for restless hands

Community Featured

Diana Spurvey believes in the proverb ‘waste not want not’ and is using her talents to give back.

That’s why she and a group of similar-minded crafters recently donated about a dozen and a half fidget quilts to the Oddfellows Home in Pictou.

A fidget quilt or activity blanket is a lap quilt that provides sensory and tactile stimulation for the restless hands of someone with Alzheimers, other forms of dementia, autism, or people who experienced a stroke.

Spurvey held a free workshop to make the quilts at her craft shop, The Enchanted Door Gifts and Crafts last January, just before COVID-19 shut down the province.

She decided on the project after visiting a fabric store in Ottawa several months before. She was enchanted with the project.

“Anybody that sews knows you always have pieces of fabric left over. So rather than throwing them out or trying to figure out another purpose, you can put them all together to make fidget quilts. Putting the scraps to good use.”

The quilts are handmade with plenty of textures — fleece, satin, leather and a variety of notions like beads, rope, zippers, snaps, buttons in several shapes, colours and sizes, and more. The variety of textures makes them perfect to keep restless hands busy. And the quilts were all sewn together with heavy duty thread to make them safe for those handling them and seeking their comfort.

Half a dozen women participated in the free workshop Spurvey held and made a dozen and a half of the colourful quilts. They would have kept going — because Spurvey has plenty of fabric scraps and notions, she laughs — but COVID-19 put an end to their gatherings. Now that the province is slowly returning to a ‘new normal,’ the time was right for them to gather together and trek to the Oddfellows Home in Pictou where they were donated.

Spurvey has also returned to offering craft workshops at The Enchanted Door as well, but with a reduced capacity due to social distancing requirements that are dictated by Public Health. Check out her Facebook page for more information.

One-on-one sessions are also available in this new climate, says the craft maven. Just contact her for information.

“In January I will be offering another free workshop for the fidget quilts. I ran the fidget quilt workshop free of charge because I want to give the quilts away.”

Staff at The Odd Fellows Home were thrilled to have the donation of the fidget lap blankets for the residents. Alison Smith, recreation director at the facility says, “The lap blankets are particularly comforting and useful for our residents living with dementia providing them with a calming, safe, sensory stimulating experience. We are fortunate to have such caring volunteers in our community provide us with such a valuable resource, particularly in such challenging times.”