DIY Yarn Swift: desparate measures

“They say necessity is the mother of Invention.
Don’t know who the father is though… probably Remorse.”

~ Red Green

DIY swift

Well, I’m not sure about Remorse (since I’m actually fairly pleased with this) but I really couldn’t say what fathered this ugly brainchild of mine. I blame the combination of zero socks-in-progress, too much sock-yarn in skeins, and not nearly enough tea early on Friday* morning.

Should you, too, be one of the many yarncrafters out there bereft of ball winder and yarn swift, and if you (like myself) are too cheap/lazy/lack-of-caffeine-addled to make a prettier swift like this one for yourself, them you too can make a swift like the one pictured above!

Gather up 4 wire coat-hangers, some duct tape, and a wine bottle. Bend the hanger’s hanger-parts straight, then down to a right angle. Duct-tape ’em together with a decent blob o’tape, stick em’ in the wine bottle’s neck, and see how it spins. Bend up the coat hangers so that your skein of yarn won’t fall off the contraption. Adjustments are made with the application of more tape and brute force, as needed.

Now grab yourself your “nostepinne” (in my case, a bit of dowel with an elastic around the middle, to secure the initial yarn-tail), pull up your chair, and commence with winding!

That’s how I went from this…
STR autumn skein

…To this…
skein on DYI swift

..with no tangled messes! (Remember the Sea Wool? Never again, say I!) Yeah, it ain’t pretty, but it works.

*I took an extra-long weekend — it was very good!

43 Comments

Filed under DIY, yarn

43 responses to “DIY Yarn Swift: desparate measures

  1. Lady O

    Red Green would be proud!

    I love yours (almost makes me wish I didn’t have one and could try this) ;)

    Now if only you could find a beer bottle big enough, you could call it the Great Canadian Swift… (well, you probably could call it that anyway…)

  2. OOH! I’m going to have to make one of those! Lately I’ve just been having my husband be the swift… I’m sure he’ll appreciate this much more! :)

  3. okay…clever. very clever. necessities need not be pretty…but pretty is nice.

    Was nice chatting with you at LK tonight. I wish I were prepared for spinning…eventually but not quite yet…I think I am going to stick to my guns and wait til April…but then again I also always say I am going to not buy more yarn….hahaha ….not buy yarn.

    Happy Stitching!

  4. Your Secret Pal

    This is fantastic, I think I’ll make one!

  5. with duct tape to boot- Red Green would be proud!

    that colourway is going to have you craving reese’s pIECES, MARK MY WORDS (shoot, kid hit the caps lock, sorry about that)

  6. I had to share this link with all my knitterly friends! I have been too cheap up ’til now to buy a ‘real’ winder. And my children collapse in tears when I ask nicely if I can borrow their arms for a bit. They’re really sweet girls when I am not bothering them with hanks of luxurious yarn. This homemade contraption will truly save lives. I must be on my way to swig down a bottle of wine (for the yarn)!

  7. a-b

    a) hooray for red green!!! :) :)
    b) you read my mind. I just received a gift of some of that yummy STR and have been trying to figure out how to wind it without having to 1. break the yarn by accident, 2. drink a lot, 3. waste three hours, and 4. cry. AWESOME!

  8. You get a gold star for creativity! I love it!

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  10. this is too cool! I might just try this….plus, it is not so very ugly—when you squint, it looks like abstract sculpture. lol

  11. Ahh ha ha! This gave me the obnoxious-barking laughs, which sound somewhat like snorting, but contain just enough mirth that no ones coming to my rescue. Rather innovative, I must say!

  12. I think you are a freakin’ GENIUS!

  13. Annette

    This solution is ingenious.
    ….thank you for the laughter, I will try this shortly…

  14. orata

    Wow! I love it. Wish I’d seen this before buying my nice wooden swift (though my boyfriend would probably have some aesthetic objections to the wine bottle version, so maybe it’s just as well)

  15. It can’t possibly have had anything to do with tea. Tea cannot be blamed for genius. If anything it’s the regular consumption of tea that gave you the inspirtation in the first place.

    Ingenious!

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  17. Very clever, and it can be an art piece when you’re not using it!

  18. Li

    Have just tried this out and it works just fine – thank you!

  19. ofca

    i just love your swift! there is something very artsy and contemporary about it:)

  20. Nifty idea!

    Your cat looks a bit wary though.

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  22. Anna

    YOU ARE MY HERO. I’m no longer dependent on someone else’s hands. WAHOOOOOOOOOOO! Thank you ever so much. Truly. From the bottom of my needles! It works wonderfully!

  23. OMG!! I heart you and the internet, ’cause this is fantabulous!!!

  24. Heidi

    OMG YES!!!! I Just love this idea! this will save me some $$ and at the same time i can recycle!

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  26. I’m Sooooo doing this! ;-)

  27. Now that’s a MacGyver moment right there!

  28. Vicki

    I just don’t get it – how do you keep the bottle from tipping over?

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  30. Emma

    Thank you for this! I couldn’t find my swift (buried under a pile of stuff somehwere in the house), and I didn’t want to face the time it would take to wind a ball by hand. Just seeing the picture was exactly the DIY motivation I needed! Ball wound, knitter happy. Now I know what to do in a pinch. Thanks for sharing this!

  31. Jennifer

    Thank you for the idea. I don’t think I would have been able to get my bf to suffer through another yarn winding session…. Mine isn’t pretty, but it worked!

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  36. Anna

    I think this is AWSOME!!!! No need to look pretty…just functional…and I have all the necessary parts!…and lots of wool to dye…and lots of wool to knit…and lots of wool to crochet…does it ever end? I think not!

  37. Debbie

    omg I am WAY too cheap to buy a swift, found a ball winder reasonable at Knitpicks..but this ROCKS!!! LOVE Red too..he would be very proud, ..and prob get a chuckle too. now..to find an empty wine bottle..hmmm..lol

  38. Johnc147

    Nice read, I just passed this onto a friend who was doing some research on that. And he actually bought me lunch as I found it for him smile Thus let me rephrase that Thanks for lunch! gdeabgaeecce

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