Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Merry Christmas Gary!

Gary is a man who works with his hands.  He enjoys holding and grasping things.  He loves to keep his hands moving, working, exploring.  Gadgets, pliers, key rings, and, increasingly, fabrics.  He has always appreciated nice textures.  I remember walking through department stores with him, and how he would feel the soft fabrics hanging on the racks.

These days, it seems his fingers are covered with velcro.  If he is near a towel bar, he clings to the towel.  If you are helping him dress, he clutches the t-shirt, jacket, or sweater.   I believe he feels secure when holding on to something.  Then he eventually starts manipulating it and seeing how it feels.  He'll pick up the kitchen towel and "pleat" it or fold it, watching how it lays against itself.  If you try to remove it, that's when the clutching begins. I wanted to find him a small "therapeutic" texture quilt so he would have something to hang on to, or enjoy while sitting.  

You can find plenty of  "tactile" things for little babies, but they are juvenile looking.  Many "therapeutic" items are feminine or too complex, etc.  SO I decided to make a unique little quilt specifically for Gary.  It was his Christmas present.  With Alzheimer's Disease, you never know how something is going to be received, but I couldn't have been happier with his response. 

I hope this quilt can be adapted for other A.D. patients, and maybe the close up photos can give a better idea of what I did.  I just kind of made it up, so there's no pattern, but basically I bought the minimum (6") strips of fabric, and I bought them all off the clearance table at Joanne's.  I chose a slightly heavier backing fabric, that had several colors, which I used for the color choices.  I tried to include as many different textures as I could.

Some of the seams have a separate fold sewn in so he can feel the "edge".  The width of each strip is 2" with 1/2" seams.  The over all size is a 26" square.  The boarder is the backing material.  I would recommend using similar weight fabrics, and I think it will need to be dry cleaned, because I am certain all the fabrics do not have the same washing instructions.  When done, I top-stitched around the edge of the border where it joins the strips.  The whole thing cost about $10. 


  1. What a wonderful idea! Many of our best inventions come from specific needs of friends and family, like this one. It's hard to picture exactly what the quilt is like, so I hope to see it in person some day. It kind of looks like strips made from old neckties. I guess you could try that, too.

    Blessings to you, and perhaps you have discovered a new side job to keep you even busier!

  2. Very creative and practical. Praying for you on Fridays this year, Laurie.


  3. Love it Laurie. You are amazingly talented, and out of your love for Gary you have used your God given talents to comfort him. This is a beautiful idea.

  4. I always love watching how you find ways to meet Gary's needs and enrich his life as he goes through all his changes, you are so creative! I love seeing the picture of him so interested in it too, thanks for sharing!

  5. That was really loving and creative of you! I'm glad it was appreciated.

  6. What tenderness you have for Gary. This is what love is. ~Robyn