Best Yarn Swift
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Best Yarn Swift

What is a Yarn Swift

You may be asking yourself, "what exactly is a yarn swift and why would you possibly need one?" If you have worked with any type of yarn crafts, you may have come across certain yarns that are not already wound into a workable ball or skein. This is known as a "hank" of yarn. Many of the more delicate or higher end yarns come in hanks that are not wound into skeins. This is done in order to preserve the integrity of the yarn before purchase. In order to wind the yarn into a skein, you need two things; a ball winder and a yarn swift. The ball winder works much like a bobbin on a sewing machine to make a ball of yarn. The yarn swift is used to hold the hank of yarn so that it doesn't get tangled while being wound onto the ball winder.

Types of Yarn Swifts

There are three types of swifts available in yarn stores and online; the Amish Swift, Beka Swift, and Umbrella Swift. Each of these have their pros and cons but they are all effective enough to get the job done. All three are made primarily of wood; although a few versions are made of metal and plastic. They all accommodate different size hanks of yarn and are relatively easy to store when not in use.

Amish Swift

The Amish Swift is a table top style swift standing around 6-8 inches in height. It sits on a base made of two pieces of narrow wood joined in a cross pattern. The center axis of rotation is a wooden dowel rod that supports another set of wooden arms much like the base. The arms on top hold the hank of yarn around wooden pegs and spins as the ball winder winds the yarn into a skein of yarn. There are peg holes all across each arm for moving the pegs to accommodate various size hanks of yarn. The biggest draw back of this style yarn swift is that the dowel rod doesn't allow for the top arms to freely spin. This friction causes the tension of the yarn to be sporadic thus making the yarn either tangle, wind too loosely, or wind too tightly.

Beka Swift

The Beka Swift works similar to the Amish Swift in that it consists of a base and top cross section of wooden arms. It is also a table top style swift but taller. It stands about 2 feet tall and has a small cross section of wooden arms on top with a larger cross section of wooden arms on the bottom. Rather than utilizing peg holes and wooden pegs, it has four dowel rods that are vertically placed from top to base at a gradual angle. This angle allows for different size hanks of yarn as with the previous swift but to a much more limited degree of variations. There are two types of axis' available with the Beka Swift; one with a center dowel rod and another with a ball bearing system. As discussed with the Amish Swift, the center dowel rod creates friction when in use. The ball bearing system eliminates this problem, however, it makes the swift less portable and more difficult to store.

Umbrella Swift

The Umbrella Swift works much like it sounds. It has an adjustable diameter that expands and retracts like an umbrella. It spins on a fixed rod and attaches to a table or other work surface via clamp on the bottom of the swift. These features make the Umbrella Swift portable and easily folds to be stored when not in use. Although there are some convenient aspects with this swift, it is much more problematic than the previous two yarn swifts. For one, unless extreme care is taken, it can leave scratches and marks on the surface that it is attached to during use. It also tends to loosen over time and become less stable. The biggest problem is that the hinges that make it retractable tend to grab and pull on the yarn causing damage to the fibers and major tangling issues.

Best Yarn Swift

So, with these issues, surely there must be a better way to make a swift right? After some thought and much collaboration with fellow yarn crafters, a new design has indeed been created. This design takes all of the best features of the previous models and incorporates sleek, compact storability with a ball bearing system for a smooth yarn feed. By making a lazy Susan base out of wood, a cross section groove is then cut into the top of the base. Two 24 inch arms saddle together in the center and fit down into the cross section grooves. This eliminates the need for hardware components to hold the system together. Across each arm there are peg holes placed at 1/2 inch intervals from side to side. Wooden pegs can be placed in the desired position to accommodate any size hank. This swift is a table top design that stands roughly 4 inches tall and comes apart with ease for storage and portability. It also includes a storage bag for the base and arms with a small pouch for the wooden pegs. This new design is called The Lazy Swift (pat. pending). Currently, The Lazy Swift (pat. pending) is not out on the market but is scheduled to begin sale in June, 2014. If you would like more information on The Lazy Swift (pat. pending) or want to be kept informed of its availability, please comment below.


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