Knit and Crochet Ever After
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Thinking About Getting a Yarn Swift?

A yarn swift is an investment a crocheter decides on once they have begun buying more and more hanks rather than skeins of yarn. Rather than having to have a yarn store wind your yarn, you can easily do it from the comfort of your home.

Swifts can be expensive though ($50 on average) and there are a couple of things to consider before buying one:

1. Do you have a table it can fit on?

Swifts and yarn winders have clamps that must attach to a table — there are some hand held yarn winders that won’t need a table, but most will need a table with a certain thickness to work.

The thickness and overhang of the table are the most important to check before making the investment. Your table cannot be too thick (no more than 1.5″ to fit a yarn winder and probably no more than 2.5″ for the swift) or the clamp won’t fit. Plus your table needs a good overhand for the clamp to sit on (at least 1 to 2″).

You will be surprised that most tables in  your home will probably not meet both of these requirements (none in my home did). I have to use a dresser for my swift and yarn winder (don’t forget to check these out, they might work for you as well).

2. Is the table/dresser I’m attaching it to have clearance and distance for the swift and yarn winder?

 You need enough clearance for your swift to turn freely. They can open quite wide and if your table/dresser is difficult to move you want to make sure you have a good distance to any obstacles that might get in the way.

You also want to make sure you will have enough distance from the swift to the yarn winder. If you are using a nightstand for instance, the swift will probably be on top of the winder once it is open.

So hopefully these tips will help you to make sure you are ready for a swift. If you have no idea what a swift is, or you just bought one and need to know how to wind with it, check out my video below. It will talk about the points above and show you how to set up and wind your hanks. Happy winding!




  • Jacqueline Kiffe

    By the way, I bought my swift on Amazon, and the current price is about $40.

    I wind even skeins and doughnuts on the ball winder. The center-pull cakes don’t roll around as you work. My KnitPicks ball winder works much better than any other I have tried, I think because the arm is fixed and all gear teeth are enclosed. All winders look very similar, but they do not work equally well.

    And I have been collecting your patterns for years (they offer real value, being both easy and appealing), but I still don’t know how to pronounce your name!

  • Jacqueline Kiffe

    Don’t forget Amish-style swifts! I have had one for many years, and it offers convenience that umbrella swifts do not. Two simple wooden base pieces are notched to fit together, with a short dowel fitting in a hole in the center. Two wooden arms, notched like the bases, fit on this dowel to form a large cross and spin freely. There are holes drilled along each arm, and there are four more dowels that are placed on each of the four arm ends. (The multiple holes accommodate hanks of different lengths.) The whole thing breaks down into a very small package, and individual pieces have no moving parts to break/break down.

    I had to learn the hard way that you *never* cut the ties on the hank until it is on the swift. And it also helps to be careful to make sure that the hank strands are as parallel as possible, as they can get twisted when the hank is braided and tied. Otherwise, your cake can be wound with uneven tension.

Let me know what you think