There are many yarn swifts on the market with different features. I’ve listed some of the best yarn swifts in my reviews.
The best yarn swift is one made of sturdy, solid materials, like strong wood, and doesn’t easily break. It works beautifully with any hank of yarn and has a smooth spin.
No need to fear buying yarn in hanks!
Winding yarn with a swift makes life much easier. No need for the ‘knee method’ or chair. Best of all, no disgruntled partners/friends! Makes a huge difference to your life. Say goodbye to a tangled mess of yarn problem.
When choosing the one right for you, think of how much space you have, your budget, and the size of hanks you have in your stash.
Here is my yarn swift reviews.
Onyx Wooden Yarn Swift
Sturdy construction of laminated birch wood in black. The wood umbrella swift is uncomplicated to operate and compact when packed away.
The black finish on these umbrella yarn swifts looks stylish in any room.
The Knit Picks Yarn Swift is made of laminated birch wood.
The table clamp has a range of about 1 1/2 to 1 5/8″
Suitable for different yarn weights and yarn loops
This umbrella swift yarn winder is made of strong materials
Spins smoothly and efficiently
Golden brass hardware.
Hard-wearing metal screws
Quick to set up
This wooden umbrella swift yarn packs down for storage
Simple to order online
Creates lovely center pull balls
Great for a spinner and dyer
Folds down for portability
Keeps yarn in place without tangling
You may need to use wood wax or polish to ensure the center sliding mechanism to go up and down easily. Not a big issue.
Stanwood Needlecraft Tabletop Amish Style Wooden Swift
Built of solid wood, this tabletop Amish Style swift has pegs to make it easily adjustable for smaller or larger rings of yarn. As the name suggests, it’s used on a table or the floor. Can handle skeins of many string types.
It spins smoothly and makes yarn winding fun.
There are no metal components or screws. It’s made completely of wood. The two wooden base sections fit together, and a short central dowel is placed in the middle. On the dowel is 2 arms; when crisscrossed, create the 4.
When not in use, disassemble and store this Amish style yarn swift.
Not difficult to assemble.
Fine sanded finish, so no heavy wood varnish fumes.
Sturdy when on tables as it has 4 non-slip pads
Easily adjusted to hold hank sizes of skeins 2 1/2 – 6 ft in circumference
Quality parts easily come apart for convenient storage.
It’s big, not suitable if you have limited space
Some found it makes a loud noise when rotating. Use wood wax to fix it
This melds the simplicity of their popular tabletop swift arm design with a sealed metal ball bearing system. Suits many different hank circumferences and smoothly winds the big loop of yarn into a ball.
They pride themselves on attention to detail in this skein winder. This company has sold top-quality fiber arts products for years.
Made from maple and cabinet-grade maple plywood in their workshop. This beautiful yarn swift lasts for many years. Creates perfect cakes.
Receives 5 star ratings
An example of high quality woodworking skills
Excellent bang for your buck
Rubber stoppers are screwed into the base to keep in place
Schacht Ultra Umbrella Swift
Models the expert knitters and yarn store owners use. This swift is a workhorse. These designs are tough, sturdy, and reliable enough to give to the next generations.
Use this swift both horizontally or angle vertically using a quick-release pin. A swiveling knob and ball bearings create a smooth winding experience. You can choose the option of adding a counter.
The arms on these umbrella style yarn swifts open from the top down
This swift clamps on most tables, even those with thick edges
Smooth surface with fine sanding
Easy setup with a simple clamp system
Steel pins and plastic buttons hold the ribs in place
This heavy duty swift accommodates hank sizes and hank circumferences up to 93″ in diameter
Accommodation of different types of yarn weights and yarn types
Highly durable middle shaft and metal supports
Collapses for storage
Screw in clamps don’t damage the surface
The horizontal or vertical position means you can set it up anywhere!
No yarn snagging
Strong, thick screws
Requires a suitable area to mount it
Beka Yarn Swift
The Beka brand is a tabletop swift with a heavy base. Made of hard maple wood, with metal ball bearings making it spin smoothly. It sits on top of furniture, no need for clamping.
Moving yarn up or down accommodates different sizing.
It’s made up of these wooden parts
2 long bottom bars to support the dowels
2 shorter bars holding the dowels in place on the top
4 wooden dowels
A center support beam
A base like a lazy susan
A top nob with a washer
4 rubber feet.
This unit is not complicated to assemble. Due to the dowels’ sloping, put smaller yarn circles towards the top and larger ones near the bottom.
Fewer parts mean it’s easy to assemble with clear instructions
Can comfortably accommodate skeins of varying sizes
Quiet spinning of the circle of yarn
Great stability and sturdy build
Easily fits a 1 yarn skein
Simple to place the wool over the top
Will securely hold in place
This yarn swift makes it easy to wind yarn
Great value for money
Doesn’t fold down for easy storage. Disassemble it and pack away pieces in the storage bag
Requires a fair amount of space
Spinning can be a bit tight and stiff at first
Don’t wind too tight as there is a chance the yarn will loose elasticity
Are you ready to make things easier by having a yarn swift?
Here is a quick checklist to consider
Sturdy Construction? – YES/NO
Smooth Finish? – YES/NO
Ease Of Set-Up? – YES/NO
Sturdy Table Clamps? – YES/NO
What Style? – Umbrella Or Tabletop Swifts?
Adjustable For Different Circumferences Of Yarn? – YES/NO
Packs Down For Storage? – YES/NO
Do You Have Enough Space To Store It? – YES/NO
Can You Easily Get Metal Screw Replacements? – YES/NO
If you use smaller weight yarns, get a small swift. If not, get a bigger one.
What Is A Yarn Swift?
Yarn Swift materials are either wood or metal and plastic. It’s considered an essential tool for any knitter or crocheter. Most yarn swifts are wooden.
Yarns are often sold as hanks or skeins. What is a hank of yarn? A hank is yarn loosely wound into a large ring shape and twisted on itself.
This tool holds yarn hanks or skeins of yarn in place, and when it spins, yarn streams from it in a single, untangled strand.
It will hold hanks, and it’s for winding yarn into yarn balls.
Also used by spinners and hand yarn dyers for the opposite process. They use it as a skein winder to wind loose yarn into a big circle, then put it in a hank form.
There are numerous types, but they all create center pull balls or cakes.
Vertical (aka Squirrel Cage)
Do I Need A Yarn Swift?
Everything depends on how you buy your yarn. If you use hanks of yarn, get one! They allow for trouble-free balling, free from tangles and knots.
These tools are not just for knitters, crocheters, thread makers and weavers too!
Using yarn winders with your yarn swift, you create yarn cakes (yarn muffins) rather than yarn balls. (I recommend it.)
Is A Yarn Swift Winder Worth It?
Yes! The best yarn swifts are a great tool. Of course you want to get back to knitting faster!
Winding with a yarn winder and yarn swift is fun. In combination with each other, easily wrap yarn into cakes.
To use a yarn winder and see your stash of hanks and skeins, becoming neat little yarn cakes is addictive. Don’t let it take you away from projects!
How To Use
Here is how a swift works.
Winding yarns with a yarn swift – start by clamping the swift onto a table or countertop. To protect your table surfaces, expert knitters recommend using a tablecloth or some padding. (Goodbye dining room chairs!)
Winding with a winder and swift – Repeat the above process for the winder.
To make the whole process of winding a ball from a skein, follow these simple instructions:
First, slide the clamp at the base of the yarn swift onto your table and tighten the bolt.
Remove the label and untwist the skein or yarn hank.
Pop the ring of yarn strands over the top of the yarn swift
Pull the ring of fiber lightly so the hank’s far side is against the middle shaft.
Open up the arms of the closed yarn swift like an umbrella by pushing the tightening screw upward. (Umbrella swift is a common name for this tool)
Do this until the yarn or skein form is taut on the yarn swift.
Then secure the umbrella clamp in place.
Spin around and find all the tied sections of the yarn hank/skein. Remove these ties.
There’s one end on the outside and the other on the inside. Use the end on the outside to start winding yarn.
The yarn swift holds the yarn in place with even tension. Now wind the yarn!
Start slowly with a gentle tug, so you see how the yarn swift and the wool winder works and how fast the yarn winds. Then you can speed up.
Neat yarn cakes (a center pull yarn ball) forms with little effort. The yarn swift works as you wind your yarn. Such fun!
How to Use A Yarn Swift and Ball Winder
Using an Umbrella Swift and a Ball Winder Combo saves you an enormous amount of time. For recommendations on yarn ball winders, visit my post.
The beauty of using a winder and yarn swift is center pull cakes. (Having the end in the middle is convenient when it’s time to knit.)
Here is a fabulous tutorial by Stacey at Very Pink Knits. She demonstrates how to ball yarn. Watch the way how yarn in hank form becomes neat yarn cakes.
Getting To Know The Different Types
Kristine Kelly of Ewe University showcases different types of yarn swift in her video. I enjoyed watching it and found it informative.
I’ve summarized it by giving the essential points. Skip to the 19.59 mark for great information on the best Yarn Swifts and the best yarn winders.
Here are the types of yarn swifts.
Umbrella Yarn Swift
The most common swifts are umbrella swifts (aka horizontal swifts.) They’re made of wood or metal and collapse for storage.
Umbrella style swifts have a flat base for a tabletop surface or a clamp to attach to a table’s side. You can use an umbrella swift vertically. Some are tall and stand on the floor. Materials vary from wood to metal and plastic.
(There are also combination swifts, Amish and umbrella styles in one.)
Tabletop or Amish Style
The Tabletop Yarn Swift or Amish style swift seems to be gaining in popularity. One of the factors is they are solid and great for beginners. Jump to 25.36 to see the Amish style Swift.
Amish yarn swifts are made of wood with two pieces of wood crisscrossing in the middle to create 4 arms. On this type of yarn swift each of the arms, there are various holes to insert peg. It can accommodate hanks of different sizes.
The diagonally placed wood is bolted together at the center.
If you or someone you know woodwork, these swifts aren’t difficult to make.
The bottom has rubber or felt pads to protect surfaces and prevent scratches.
Consider a DIY Yarn swift if you have the skills. Kristine’s husband made one for her. He found woodworking plans and homemade yarn swift instructions online. How to make a swift is outlined on websites with their specifications.
Amish Swifts vary in price but are cheaper than Umbrella-Style Swifts.
The Amish Swift is placed on top of a table or flat surface, holding skeins and spins around. No need for clamps.
Jump to 27:25 to see an this swift in action.
Amish style swifts take up a lot of space, especially if using a yarn winder and swift. Storing one is an issue. Some come apart, but some do not. Keep in mind your storage options.
Favored by spinners/dyers for their hand-dyed and spun yarns to form hanks.
What Is An Amish Yarn Swift?
An Amish Yarn Swift (otherwise known as a tabletop yarn swift) is a swift of simple wooden design. It fits almost any skein or hank and will spin easily.
An Amish style swift has
A swivel base
4 arms (2 pieces of wood crisscrossing)
Each Amish or tabletop style arms has pre drilled holes in them, with 4 removable pegs. The pegs move depending on the size of yarn and how big the loop of an unwound skein is.
The pegs in the arms hold the yarn hank in place as the yarn swift spins, creating a center pull ball.
You need to consider the amount of space you have available when using a yarn swift. Something to do is make sure you check the dimensions.
Vertical Yarn Swift
The last style of Swift Kristine mentions is a vertical swift.
These swifts for sale range in price depending on the features included. People are making these styles of umbrella swifts and then selling them online. Most users seem to be dyers who package their yarns in hank form.
Some people make handmade vertical swifts, but I recommend buying one. They’re a bit fragile.
The vertical swift Kristine owns is the Schacht Goko angled swift.
Kristine demonstrates the vertical yarn ball winder with a yarn hank at point 29:25 if you’d like to jump there.
The Goko Yarn Swift is a vertical and angled swift. It has a Japanese design style based on industrial swifts. Kristine finds it excellent for fine, delight fibers like lace weight yarn. She also uses it for other yarn weights.
This type of swift isn’t super popular in the knitting world.
How to Use a Vertical Yarn Swift
Place the swift on a table or the floor. It has a wood base with 2 arms extending upwards and an aluminum wheel where the yarn loop is set.
She notes the wheel is fragile on this device and could be bent if dropped. However, the lightness and flexibility of the thin metal wheel make it work well and rotations smooth.
The Goko Swift model copes with yarn loop circumferences of 57” to 64”. It’s not as adjustable as other types. Storage is an issue.
However, it’s an item of interest and adds character to a craft room.
Here’s the video. Worth watching!
Amish Yarn Swift vs Umbrella Swift
If you have space in your home for a swift on the table, try the Amish Yarn Swift. Though they don’t pack away easily.
The Umbrella Swift folds down and is easily stored away.
What you choose is a matter of taste.
Hope you find the yarn swift to make winding hanks easier. Have fun knitting or crocheting!
Do you have a favorite swift I haven’t mentioned? Have a question?
Anything I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments section below. Your email address is never published.
Pin Now to Save for Later
About Jodie Morgan
Hi. I’m Jodie, creator of Knit Like Granny. (Yes, I’m real 🙂 ) Thanks for being here.
I started Knit Like Granny to show 1,000,000 people the joys of knitting & highlight alternatives to fast fashion.
I love knitting and have met so many fabulous knitters through this site. I enjoy learning and helping others discover the joys of working with yarn.
Bestdealsoftheyear.com participates in the Click Bank Services LLC Associates Program, which is an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for websites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Click Bank.