Picture of Duct Tape Yarn Swift
This is an easy to make yarn swift; no measuring, cutting or gluing needed. The only tool needed is pliers. It took me 15 minutes to put together. The materials (coat hangers, duct tape and lazy susan) are things that many of us already have, or can be borrowed or purchased very cheap. The total cost was at least 90% less than the cheapest commercial swift I've seen. Granted it isn't as pretty as a real swift, but functionality was my goal, not aesthetics.

It' s lightweight and easy to set up and take apart. It could be packed in a suitcase easily if you're traveling to a knitter's conference or seminar. The susan isn't modified in any way, so it can go right back in the kitchen when you're done. It works very well with my homemade ball winder.

Step 1: Supplies

Picture of Supplies
two wire coat hangers
duct tape
lazy susan

Note: "lazy susan" is an Americanism for a rotating tray or carousel. These are commonly available in the kitchenware section of retail stores. Prices start at about $4US and go up depending on size. Mine cost $2, but I bought it several years ago on sale.
pingeee7 years ago
Again, please educate me. What does this device used for? I don't seems to have problem with the standard yarn 'bunch' at all...
bcr8ve pingeee7 years ago
Yarn swifts are used to hold hanks of yarn while you are winding the yarn into a ball for easy use. Hanks of yarn = gathered loops of yarn (think of how you loop a garden hose). By winding hanks into balls (or cakes, as some call them) of yarn, you can then work with the yarn (knit, crochet) more easily. Trying to work from a hank is a nightmare of snarls and tangles. Hope this helps.

Yarn swifts are also used by people who like to spin or dye their own yarn, which is why I have been wanting one for a while and love the idea of one even I can make. A handyman, I am not!

pingeee bcr8ve7 years ago
Thanks. I get the idea better now.
IWTFM pingeee6 years ago
The standard skeins of yarn from a craft or fabric store aren't usually a problem. Swifts and ball winders come into play with the kind of handspun and/or hand-dyed yarns you get from a specialty yarn shop. Picture the guy looking resigned while his wife winds a big loop of yarn off the hands he's holding up into a ball. The swift takes the place of the hands holding the loose hank of yarn. I wish I'd had this swift and a ball winder a little while ago. I couldn't, for the life of me, find the center-pull of a skein of Lion Brand Homespun. I finally ended up pulling the paper band off and winding it into a ball by hand. Now I'm having to chase the ball around while I'm crocheting with it. The cats love it.

If I get a rogue yarn ball I trap it in a coffee tin with a grommet pounded into the lid. I run the yarn up through the hole, seal up the lid crochet away. The ball stays clean and out of the reach of devious little paws.
NNN54 years ago
By the way, it is possible to use paper document clips instead of duct tape. They are more powerful and steady.
NNN54 years ago
It's great!
I will use my revolvable table stand for this purpose.
Very, very useful instructable!
Tezcumpapa4 years ago
Love it! Gonna make it tonight!
I like the coffee can idea too! Kitty has commandeered several expensive balls.
I did stick my nice new skeins into cleaned soda bottles (slicing them around near the mid section, and running a bit of the pull yarn through the neck and taping it into place. I then resealed the bottle with some clear packing tape. Keeps it clean and the kitty discouraged. Oh, it makes doing some of the more complicated/multi skein pieces much easier to keep straightened.
queen roo6 years ago
thats very smart!!! i liked your idea for the yarn winder thing!! drills are fun!!
balletfan6 years ago
Just" unvented" as Elizabeth Zimmerman said, my own yarn swift. Put a very large ,heavy vase on a turntable, put a large, wide lampshade {wider at bottom} on top of vase and draped yarn hank over this. Works a treat. Son gave me winder thingy but didn't want to be piggy and ask for expensive swift. Have even wound really fine lace yarn on it. First attempt by hand still has walls echoing rather blue language. New England thrift wins again !!! Am merrily winding my stash into neat balls. Hope to live long enough to knit it all !!
I've only just gone from one bobbin to four, and then was thinking.. if only I had one of them "arm" thingys and a ball winder! Yay. I can make this work!!!
justllama6 years ago
I have to admit I was a bit skeptical of this at first but I thought I would try it. I absolutely LOVE it! Took me less than an hour to make (and that was while watching CSI) and materials were under $5.00. Thank you for such a great Instructable!
bodymap07 years ago
Brilliant. Life saver.
Fruppi7 years ago
This is great...I was just looking at swifts online today and they're unreasonably expensive. Thanks!
Wow... another great Instructable! 2 in a row! Nice job!
sideways (author)  GorillazMiko7 years ago
Thank you:-)
rootchick7 years ago