a fidget quilt for mom :: Okan Arts
a fidget quilt for mom

a fidget quilt for mom


By Patricia Belyea

OTTAWA CA  Today is my mother’s 90th birthday. Her brain has become quite frayed so I made her a fidget quilt.

In early January I found two naval-officer epaulettes ($3 each) at the Ballyhoo Curiosity Shop in Ballard. My father was a commander in the Canadian Navy hence my mom was a naval officer’s wife for over 65 years. With a naval theme in mind, I collected more parts for the lap quilt.

To keep it bright, I chose an ikat-woven kimono wool from the 1970s for the background fabric.

The velvet pocket from a pair of thrift-store jeans gives a change of texture. Also, the pocket holds a scrap of fabric—perfect for unfolding and folding up.

Two little iron-on monsters hiding under the epaulettes create non-stop delight.
Lots of odd-ball errors showed up in this casual project. For starters, the zipper is upside-down. The wrong side of the grommets are exposed. And the stitching is messy!

Regardless, Love conquers all the glitches and makes the fidget quilt a perfect gift for Mom on her big day.

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18 comments to “a fidget quilt for mom”

  1. Nicole Hannah says:

    Happy birthday to your mom! I remember meeting her three or four years ago in Victoria and she was a delightful lady (just like you!)

  2. What a wonderful gift Pat happy birthday to your mother x

  3. Pamela Belyea says:

    Patricia – Your loving gift to our Mom makes me so happy! Thank you!

  4. Janet Wright says:

    Your mom will love this quilt. Cheerful–with lots of symbols of her life. Janet

    • Patricia Belyea says:

      Janet—I watched my mom interact with the quilt on the day of her birthday. It kept her attention solidly for 15 minutes. PB

  5. Miriam says:

    A belated birthday greeting to your mother. When my daughter was office manager at a hospice, they needed something to help a client. I made her a fidget qilt. My stitching got pretty messy, too, as I added texture and fidget items. I don’t think anyone cared it wasn’t perfect. I appreciate the opportunity to look at your quilt for additional ideas, should the need occur for me to make another quilt. Best wishes to you as you travel this journey with your mother’s wandering mind.

  6. Martha Hood says:

    Great idea for those in nursing homes and any that are having trouble using hands. Thinking of one for the grandmother of my son in law- there are lots of military in her family and she is about 89 this year- hope to get it done by her birthday- thanks for the ideas – Have a great day

    • Patricia Belyea says:

      Martha, Have fun making a fidget quilt, anything goes. And you can be as casual as you want in putting it together. My only suggestion is to collect all our your additions before you get started. Then go! P.

  7. Carol Barringer says:

    Coastal Quilters Guild of Santa Barbara, CA is making fidget quilts for area residents with dementia. We hope to make 70 or more quilts over the next few months. We collected a huge variety of “doo-dads” via donations and selective purchase, had a very successful workshop, and last month our “Make Your Own Fidget Kit” was enthusiastically received. A pattern, instruction tips and photos can be seen on our website, coastalquilters.org/community.

  8. Angela Short says:

    That is a very sweet fidget quilt for your mother. What a great idea!! Awesome!!

    • Patricia Belyea says:

      Angie—When I joined an online support group for families impacted by dementia, I learned about fidget quilts. Many quilt guilds make them en masse for local health care providers. And you can buy a handcrafted one on Etsy. P.

  9. Betsy says:

    I love this quilt…so perfect. As a long time hospice practitioner I am passing this idea along. How wonderful for your mother. Thank you!

  10. Mary Jo Buckingham says:

    My Mom had severe Alzheimer’s for several years. I made her a “fidget” pillow from fabrics that she had given me years before. A zipper, beads that spelled out Mom and Dad’s names, buttons, bows, textured trims on one side, and on the other, I appliquéd a small heart-shaped chenille rug with one of my Dad’s rope knots. For several months, it seemed to help during the late afternoons, the sundown time of anxiety.

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