This past weekend was a busy one for the Kokobaru family (and our spankin new van!).
We had a weekday show downtown, followed by a great little workshop on touch blankets by the Ottawa Quilters Guild. Then we spent our Sunday at a show in Morrisburg (over an hour drive away). The shows were fun with nice people and cool vendors and also offered us some good family time with my partners family. They also marked my last shows for this year = yipee kai aye! Now I can get to cleaning up my house a little bit and getting ready for Christmas. All in all it was a success.
The workshop got me thinking though. I've always been a mighty big lover of textures and contrast - in both photography, fabric and life in general. I make it a point to try and include different fabrics in my creations because I like it. I like to give my little one access to many textures because he likes it. This weekend's workshop got me thinking more seriously about texture and it's importance to developing minds and those who are afflicted with Alzheimer's and dementia. During the workshop we all worked on making a 36"x36" sensory blanket. Perfect for over the knees of someone in a wheelchair or sitting and full of as many textures as possible.
This is the one I'm working on...
The four central squares on my touch quilt have the most going on. I understand it's good to not make your quilt too busy with things for people to play with, but I added a few extra squares outside of the centre that provide some stimulation.
Touch quilts provide sensory stimulation for those with late Alzheimer's and dementia, which can help to reduce stress and anxiety (as well as provide something comfy and cozy to snuggle with).
I wish I had known about these when my great Aunt was living with dementia. I would have made her one in a heartbeat. It's too late for me to make one for her, but never too late to start something new. I've decided I'm going to start making them. I'll have some geared toward children and others toward those suffering from cognitive impairment. I'll make some to sell and some to donate. I've seen so many 'forgotten' people in long term care and it breaks my heart. If you're interested in making one for someone you love it's simply a matter of finding a mix of different textures and putting them together. You can add elements that can be played with, but make sure they are fastened well as they will be pulled on a lot. Also, be sure not to put anything on the quilt that's hard or sharp (i.e. buttons, big metal zippers, etc). Sometimes in the later stages of alzheimers and dementia people can become aggressive, so it's best to keep things soft. If you like to sew and want to do something nice for a local long term care facility, give them a shout and see if they have people that would benefit from a touch quilt and get sewing!
Maker of things. Lover of colour and texture and contrast. Thinker & creator. Daughter, sister, partner, mother, friend. Mighty woman.