Now that is swift

A yarn swift is a very handy tool for the knitter or spinner.  It is not an essential tool, but it makes things much easier.  A yarn swift is for turning skeins or hanks of yarn into balls of yarn.   It can be used is several different ways.  When a knitter has a skein of yarn that looks like this:

in order to be knit from, it wants to be wound into a ball.  Ideally, you do not need yet another piece of crafting equipment hanging around the house.  Probably you already have a man/husband type thing hanging around the house that would work just as well as a yarn swift.  Thereby not needing another thing to trip over/walk around/move from place to place, since he is already right there and not really doing anything.  But what I have found is that a man can sit almost entirely motionless watching tv or a movie or whatever for hours at a time.  But the minute you ask him to hold his hands “like this” so you can drape the skein of yarn around his hands, he suddenly has all manner of other things he should be doing right at that second.  He will try to be cooperative and helpful, but almost against his own will after about a minute and a half of this yarn/ball winding, he will start to fidget, moan and groan, and sigh and complain.  It is useless to remind him that he just sat through 2 hours of a movie with no problem whatsoever and that this will “only take a few more minutes”.  It’s useless.  Not even worth asking.  You can’t even offer to attentively listen to him talk about football while he is doing this.  He will think about that as a fair trade for about ten seconds, but then reverts to heavy sighs of discontent. 

I bet this was the same 200 years ago as today (without the football or the Lord of the Rings movies though).  So some ingenious woman (I’m sure it was a woman) invented a yarn swift to replace the husband hands and the complaining.  Or maybe it was a man who invented it, so as to spend a couple of hours in the wood shop to never have to hold his hands “like this” ever again.  Yeah, that was probably more like it acutally.

So, now we have yarn swifts to wind skeins into balls.  There are very professionally made, beautifully finished yarn swifts that cost lots of money:

There are beautifully HOME made yarn swifts that cost a bit less, but still need to be purchased from the craftsman that made it:

There are do-it-yourself models, still with purchased supplies, but for a lot less money—this one is a lazy susan and parts of a pot rack from IKEA that someone on the web very cleverly put together.  And is still very stylish:

Do I have one of these lovely models?  No, I most certainly do not.  This is mine:

It is ugly as sin.  Very clunky and awkward and kind of heavy.  But I made it.  And it was free.  And works like a dream.  And is totally adjustable.  Though not portable and does not have a cute little bag that it can fold up into.  **sigh**

Can you guess what it used to be?   The bottom of a computer desk chair.  From the dump.  It used to have wheels on each of the arms and a seat.  Those are gone.  He had to unbolt the seat for me as I had a really hard time with that.  But the wheels popped right out.  Flipped it over and voila!  Useful spinny thing.

This swift is not at all attached to the stool.  The metal part is heavy enought that it just stays put even when I’m using it.  The handle that is sticking out there is completely useless to it’s new life as a swift.  As I’m sure it was when it was a chair too.  Those things never works.  But it doesn’t come off either.  It’s not in the way so I don’t really worry about it.

The pegs are just dowels that have been fitted into those wooden thingys.  I just seemed to have the wooden thingys hanging around, but they worked perfectly.  So those pegs can be stuck into the triangles on the chair part where ever they need to be.  Flipped over they fit in the holes that used to hold the wheels.

The skein of yarn that wants to be a ball is just loosely draped around the pegs.

Then ball can be wound from that.  This thing is so sturdy that I can set it up over there, and sit over here at the computer (with it behind me) and wind away.  It doesn’t even move a little on the stool.

Just to be clear, as with most stuff I do, this was not my idea.  I saw it somewhere on the web.  But not exactly like this.  The one that I saw was still attached to its seat and was flipped upside down on a table.  The wheels had been replaced by Crayola markers–the fatty ones.  I like mine better.  If done that way, you would have to keep taking the wheels out and putting them back when you wanted to use the chair. 

So we have no more grumping about holding your hands “like this”.  It’s much easier to just bring the swift upstairs to the crap craft room when I’m not using it.


2 thoughts on “Now that is swift

  1. I’ve always said the you got all of the common sense genes….That is pretty cool .
    Auntie Vee brought me 2 Meyer lemons from FLA and I made a jar of decaf tea and added most of one of those guys and it was YUMMY!
    I have a sock issue-started with 60sts and now am doing heel-which should be 1/2 of the st count but 30 sts is way too many. How do I adjust the number? Thanks

    • You’re the sock wizard! I don’t know how many stitches you usually use? Maybe Ravelry could help you with your sock. If you log in, you can ask a forum questions. I’ve never done that, but I see them sometimes.

      I’m glad you got to try the lemons. Aren’t they sweet? You can get them at your local Walmart (I do hate advertising for them).

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