To Swift or Not to Swift?

I had made a yarn purchase at a local yarn store, and the sales lady had told me that I really need to invest in a yarn swift and ball winder.  She demonstrated for me on a hank of yarn I bought from her, and I thought “cool, but pffft, I don’t need that.”  I don’t often buy hanks of yarn, and even if I did, I can find some other way to wind it.

Well, I gave in to the temptation and bought a pretty cheap ball winder from Knit Picks (  The reason I chose this ball winder is because it’s the cheapest I could find out there, and it’s hand held, so I don’t need to look for a place to clamp it.

I still could not, however, bring myself to purchase a swift.

Well, this past weekend, I decided to wind up a couple of hanks of yarn I had bought to make the dragon hat.  I thought, OK, if I’m really careful, I should be able to use the ball winder and wind up the yarn without getting it all tangled up.

It was a HUGE disaster!  It got sooooo tangled up, that I spent the entire rest of the day and a bit of the next morning untangling it.  My husband said, “give it up, just throw it away.”  I replied, “no way!”

I ended up having to cut the yarn in a couple of places.  Also, I discovered that without the application of appropriate pressure, the ball winder cannot produce a lovely center-pull cake.  Instead, it produces an ugly blob of yarn that tangles up as soon as you pull on it.  Sigh….back to untangling.

So, my first hank ended in 3 little balls of yarn, instead of 1 beautiful center-pull cake.

My second hank of yarn, I was more careful – I wound the hank around my two knees and sat on the floor with my knees up as I unwound it.  This worked better, but it was back-breaking and still could not produce a center-pull cake.  That one ended up as one big ball of yarn.

So, here’s my take-away from this experience:

Yarn Swift?  Yes!!!

Better Ball Winder? Yes!!!

Better go visit Amazon right now…..


Update 1/28/2014; I purchased a yarn swift from Amazon.  I got one of those Amish table top ones, just because the umbrella style one looks complicated 🙂  I also purchased a new ball winder from WEBS…it’s the Royal one.  Hopefully these will work out better.  I can’t wait to try it….maybe this weekend.


Update 2/3/2014; So, I tried out my Royal ball winder this weekend.  I clamped it to my kitchen counter, because….believe it or not, I do not have any other place to clamp it!  Then I used it to wind up a ball of acrylic yarn I had lying around, just to try it out.  I didn’t use the swift, since I wasn’t winding from a hank.  The result was beautiful!  I’m so happy.  I was finally able to make one of those nice little center-pull cakes.  I am going to wind up all my yarn, just because I’m having so much fun with it!


Update 7/9/2014; By the way, I LOVE the swift I bought.  The one I bought is the Stanwood Needlecraft Table top Amish Style Swift.  It’s pretty easy to set up and use, and it works well!

1 Comment

  1. Hello,
    I have a lot of yarns as hanks, and I still don’t have either a ball winder or a swift. I like to go to the local yarn store to wind them since I can also check their new yarns. Also, I found windering a yarn ball is interesting. If you like to have a center pull yarn ball, you can google it and find a good way to do it by hand. 🙂

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