I'm contemplating getting a swift and maybe a ball winder since I've got quite a bit of yarn that is in hanks and it's becomming a pain in the butt to try and hold the hank and wind by hand. Especially with a small dog that apparently has enough cat in him to want to play with the yarn.

Yes, I've seen everything from tinkertoys to lampshades being used as substitute swifts, but I'm wondering how many of you guys have swifts and if you find it easier to work with the umbrella types or the tabletop ones?


Andy's picture

Vertical as opposed to horizontal - more convenient space-wise. However, the flat, table-top swifts do seem less complicated (only four pegs as opposed to a number of spokes to lift the wool over).

Bill's picture

I use a table top swift...love it!!
it has three peg spots on each of the four rms... so it's quite adjustable...
Got it at Stitches three years ago... so don't have an online source....

grandcarriage's picture

I got my wooden unbrella swift for free from Robin & Russ: Some of the wooden spilts that go from support to support and provides the framework on which the yarn rests were broken. I replaced them with cotton yarn. Jury rigged, yes, but works great for the last 2 years and literally hundred +/- skein of yarn. I have the usual Royal brand ball winder. It has a nylon transmission (gearing) which isn't great, but if your careful with it will last for years and years. It's what I'm used to, sets up in seconds, and I wouldn't do without it. It collapses down to nothing and leans in the corner of the studio when not in use. (It looks pretty damn cool, too).

My 2cents, and I'm paying....

JPaul's picture

Here's the online source for the wooden swift that Bill got at Stitches. They are very well-made and well-balanced.
The Oregon Wood Worker

I have an older metal tabletop swift that I got very cheaply on e-bay. I had to mess around with it a bit to get it to spin smoothly, but it works okay. I'd probably invest in a wooden one like Bill's before I bought another metal one, or an umbrella type. I wouldn't buy the cheap plastic umbrella style though.

I also have a ball winder that I bought for about $4 from the Goodwill (are you noticing a theme here) several years ago. It works fine, but the gears are starting to slip, so I'll likely be buying a Royal winder very soon.