Bell's palsy, strokes or surgical treatments of oral and facial injuries and diseases can leave older people with difficulties in eating that threaten their dignity and self-confidence. Difficulties with mobility may require eating in semi-reclining positions or in a chair or scooter that can't get quite close enough to the table. An obvious bib only makes the situation worse. Make an easily washable covering with a little style, that fits with what else a man or woman might wear, and you may be able to restore an old friend's joy in joining you for a meal in public.
Knit Dickies for Men
Cast on 100 stitches on the knitting needles. Work in knit-2, purl-2 ribbing to make a collar three inches deep. Bind off 70 stitches and knit the last 30 stitches.
Cast on 20 stitches beyond the end of the collar. Purl the next row back across this end and the 30 stitches of the collar. Cast on 20 stitches at the end of the row, so you have a total of 70 stitches.
Work these 70 stitches in stockinette or any pattern stitch you like until the dickie is at least 14 inches long.
Sew the button onto the collar near the end attached to the dickie front. Pick up the end of the yarn where you started, or attach a new piece of yarn, and chain stitch just slightly longer than the depth of the collar. Slip stitch to the opposite corner to make a loop.
Put the dickie on by wrapping the collar around the elder's neck and slipping the loop over the button. If the elder desires, he can tuck the sides of the dickie into a jacket.
Dainty Jabots for Women
Use the crochet hook to make a foundation chain 30 stitches long. Join with a slip stitch to make a loop. Make three more chain stitches. Double crochet in the next chain -- either way -- and in 13 more chains across. Chain 2 and turn. Work back across in single crochet. Continue working back and forth, one row of double crochet and one of single, until the collar is 17 inches long. Chain 5.
Turn the collar sideways and work a treble crochet in the same stitch at the corner, two trebles in the edge of the next row and in the rows for five inches along the collar. Chain 3 and turn.
Work a double crochet in the same stitch and two double crochets in each stitch across. Chain 2 and turn.
Work half-double crochets across, chain 2 and turn.
Work four rows of half-couble crochet and chain 3 to turn after the last one. Repeat Step 3 for two double crochets in each stitch across.
Repeat Step 5 three more times or until the bib reaches the desired length.
Sew the button to the center of the collar. Put the jabot on by wrapping the collar around the elder's neck and slipping the loop on the free end over the button.
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Barbara Kellam-Scott has written since 1981 for print publications including "MassBay Antiques" and the award-winning corporate science magazine "Bellcore EXCHANGE." She writes as an advocate and lay Bible scholar in the Presbyterian Church. Kellam-Scott holds a Bachelor of Arts in intercultural studies from Ramapo College of New Jersey and conducted graduate work in sociology, theology and Biblical Hebrew.
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