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DIY Yarn Swift and Ball Winder

Hey friends! I found a bag of discontinued yarn at Goodwill for $4, but it was still skeined and I wanted to wind it before I started to use it. So I called my local yarn store (who had recently featured some of my work on their facebook page) to see if they would let me use their ball winder and swift to cake the skeins. I got a very annoyed “No, we don’t do that” (even for a fee! Needless to say, Apple Yarns in B’ham has lost a customer). Thus began the search for an economical swift and winder… and the cheapest was $60! What a rip off. I could see it if you were short on time or doing it as a side business, but buying secondhand yarn can’t become more expensive than buying it new.

So I decided I’d try to make a swift and winder. I got all of the materials at my local Goodwill for less than $10 and it took me less than 5 mins to set up. You will need:

  • One lazy susan (mine was $3.99)
  • One wine rack or dish rack (the kind that collapses ~ $4.99)
  • A large turkey baster, ring sizer, or even a curling iron top without the cord would work ($0.69)
  • Duct tape

Put your yarn skein around the wine rack. Duct tape the wine rack to the lazy susan while holding it taut against the yarn skein. Make sure the tape is placed in opposite directions, at least 4 pieces, or it will collapse inward. The weight of the rack will keep it from falling over.

Then hold your turkey baster in your left hand and wrap the yarn around with your right, first perpendicular until you’ve got a good two layers of wraps, then at a 45° angle, with the wraps 1/4” apart, slowing twisting the baster with your left hand. I used this tutorial to learn how to use the turkey baster as a nostepinne.

15 minutes later and I had wound my first cake!