Monday, July 09, 2012

Yarn Swift

Crazy swift and ball winder!!!!  Can anybody, please (pleading here), please tell me how to use this thing?  I started out with 6 skeins of Swish Tonal yarn and ended up with 6 rather misshapen and squishy cakes of yarn.  

Are there directions anywhere on the web for using a swift?  Any suggestions?  Tips, tutorials.  Pitfalls to avoid? 

Six Things I learned:
  1. Get a helper.  Or grow a second pair of hands.
  2. Flatten the skein before placing it on the swift, and make sure it's not twisted.
  3. Don't stop winding in the middle or everything will go south.
  4. Tighten the swift screw super-tight, or everything will go south in a tangled mess.  Literally.
  5. Keep an even tension.  I didn't, and that makes for smooshy cakes of yarn. Or uptight cakes. Take your choice.
  6. Wind off the skein so that the yarn end is coming clock-wise.  Wait, maybe it's supposed to be coming off counter-clockwise?  I think I tried it both ways, and found neither to be better.
Lastly, and in the case of my skein of lace-weight gray yarn pictured below, if the skein is too big in diameter to fit on the swift then use two chair backs to keep the yarn taunt.  Then hold the yarn winder in your hand and walk around the chairs, winding as you walk, until you get so dizzy that you fall over.  Then wait awhile and do it again.  Eventually, maybe hours and hours later, your yarn will be wound in a not so pretty yarn-cake like mine. 

Yes.  Seriously.  I need some help from knitters with more experience than I.


Don't you agree it looks like some sort of Torture Contraption?


  1. There are some videos on YouTube about using a swift - mostly it's just practice. Sometimes though, it's the yarn that is the problem!

    I've found it's better to move the ball winder about 6' or so away from the swift and to kind of hold it about the same height as the swift (that or pay a fascinated kid to do it for you).

    1. Thank you! I never thought to search on YouTube.

  2. seriously...take the contraption back and get someone handy to make you a simple swift. Super easy to make and easy to cake the yarn because the swift is on plane with the winder, consistant perfect little cakes :) See the Churchmouse Group thread on Caking Yarn in Ravelry for a couple of pictures, one my husband made and another thats a bit classier but both work great.

    1. I will definitely have to check out the caking yarn thread on Ravelry. Thanks for the comment. :)