Yarn Swifts tame skeins or hanks of fiber. You can wind fibers much easier when you have this handy, nifty tool! They are an essential item in any fiber crafter’s collection.
My Quick Recommendations
- My Top Pick – Stanwood Needlecraft Umbrella Yarn Swift
- Best Luxury Option – The Knit Store Yarn Swift
- Best Budget Pick – Knitter's Pride Signature Swift
Note: Clicking the above links takes you to further information, current prices, and customer reviews on Amazon and Etsy.
These tools make arduous tasks easier! Combine a sturdy yarn swift with the best yarn winder, and you’re good to go. Metal and plastic yarn swifts are available as well as beautiful wooden ones. Many varieties are hand-operated, including the umbrella swift.
Try making your own, or check out my content of reviews of the best yarn ball winders. This article has plenty of options in this selection to suit your preferences.
I reviewed, fact checked and updated this post on Feb 28, 2024
Table Of Contents
- Knitter’s Pride Signature Swift
- TheKnitStore Tabletop Swift
- Stanwood Needlecraft Umbrella Yarn Swift
- Knit Picks Yarn Swift (Onyx & Birch Versions)
- Stanwood Needlecraft Tabletop Amish Yarn Swift
- Schacht Ultra Umbrella Yarn Swifts
- Beka Yarn Swift
- ChiaoGoo Wooden Tabletop Yarn Swift
- CuteDIY Umbrella Swift
- What To Look For In Yarn Swifts
- Which Is Best For You?
The Best Durable Yarn Swift
On the market, there are many yarn swifts with distinct features. In my reviews, I’ve listed some of my favorite yarn swifts. Ideally, the best yarn swift should be made from durable, solid materials, such as sturdy wood, and shouldn’t easily break. The best yarn swifts works beautifully with any hank and spins smoothly.
You need not be afraid to buy yarn in hanks! With a swift, it is much easier to wind yarn. A chair or kneeling technique is no longer necessary. Plus, there will be no unhappy partners/friends! It will improve your quality of life. Forget about tangled yarns, and having to use your knees or neck to wind.
Choosing the right one for you depends on the amount of space you have, your budget, and the size of your stash. My review will help! Here are my yarn swift reviews. (None of these require electricity. Want a good electric winder? Try the Ashford one.)
Knitter’s Pride Signature SwiftCheck Price On Amazon
A swift opens out like an umbrella. The wooden umbrella style yarn swift clamps on the edge of a table, bench, or chair. Suitable for smaller amounts of yarn.
How Does It Compare?
- Built To Last? – Yes, but the wooden ribbing is thinner than other models
- Smooth Finish? – Mostly, but some found it needed sanding
- Easy Set-Up? – Yes, as there are only a few pieces to put together
- Sturdy Clamps? – Wooden clamp with a wooden screw.
- Clamp Capacity – An opening of 1.5 inches
- Adjustable? – Yes, it fits yarns up to 60” in circumference (width)
- Packs Down? – It’s easy to store since it folds down
Product Design: Add color to your life with the rainbow-painted parts of the swift. It’s excellent for the needs of beginners. This sort of thing is made from natural and laminated birch wood.
- User-friendly as it makes the activity much easier
- These sellers ensure it’s great value
- Easy to create a yarn ball
- These manufacturers make it with great durability
- Keep track of all your yarn and banish the mess, replacing it with the convenience of neat cakes
- Have a great experience preparing for your project
- The finish isn’t as smooth as other swifts. Some yarns may catch. I recommend sanding it to restore its smoothness
- Sometimes the rivet holding the ribbing section together breaks
- Doesn’t come with a storage bag
TheKnitStore Tabletop Swift
It combines their popular tabletop swift arm design with a sealed metal ball bearing system. It winds the big loop of yarn smoothly into a ball. The producer of this skein winder prides itself on attention to detail. They have been selling top-quality fiber arts products for years.
In their workshop, they use maple and cabinet-grade maple plywood. This beautiful yarn swift will last for years to come. It makes perfect cakes.
How Does It Compare?
- Built To Last? – Yes! Their products are made of superior quality materials
- Smooth Finish? – Finely sanded to be super smooth
- Easy Set-Up? – Yes, there are only a few parts
- Sturdy Clamps? – None needed, as it sits flat on a table or other flat surface
- Adjustable? – Fits many hank circumferences
- Packs Down? – No, but you can disassemble it
Product Design: They sell both excellent yarn winders and other tools to pair in tandem with this tool.
- Rated 5 stars
- These things have strong materials and a sturdy shape, giving it the ability to last for many years
- A surface that’s smooth
- A woodworking example of high quality
- Excellent value for money
- Great customer service if you have trouble with your orders
- This type of winder has step-by-step instructions
- A rubber stopper is screwed into the base to keep it in place
- Lots of space is required
Stanwood Needlecraft Umbrella Yarn Swift – My Top PickCheck Price On Amazon
This top yarn swift is made of birch wood material with a finely sanded finish and is medium-sized. The quality is excellent. It would look good in any craft space because of its craftsmanship. In order to ensure longevity, great care has been taken with construction and performance.
This product will be cherished for generations to come. The spin is quiet when working. Among the most popular brands of tools. Wood pieces without scars or blemishes are selected by the manufacturer. Yarn swifts made of this wood are more robust.
Metal tying wire ends hide in holes, so there are no rough edges to snag the yarn or irritate your hands. This company offers matching swifts and yarn winders.
How Does It Compare?
- Built To Last? – Constructed of high-quality wood
- Smooth Finish? – Yes, as it’s finely sanded and quality controlled
- Easy Set-Up? – It’s easy to assemble as there aren’t many pieces
- Clamp Capacity – Mounts to a variety of surfaces up to 1 3/4″ thick
- Sturdy Clamps? – The clamp section is wooden with a solid wooden screw with a large rounded edge head that assists with tightening
- Adjustable? – Handles skeins up to 6 ft in circumference
- Packs Down? – As it’s an umbrella style, it folds down effortlessly
Product Design: Designed to be as user-friendly as possible, the attention to detail and effort they put in this winder shows.
- Smooth spins because of the extra-fine sanding and the center spindle
- Fast and smooth metal crank makes the job far easier, so you can get back to making new projects faster
- Makes an attractive yarn cake
- Has a high rating
- It’ll offer a performance superior to some other swifts
- Suitable for large skeins and someone who makes large creations
- No toxic or unusual-smelling fumes from the varnish
- Finely sanded birch wood
- Sometimes the clamp screw part cracks
- The hemp ties holding parts of the machine together might not appeal to everyone
- If dropped, stepped on, or bent, it can break
Knit Picks Yarn Swift Birch
Constructed of laminated birch wood. The wooden umbrella swift is easy to use and compact when stowed away. These umbrella yarn swifts look stylish in any room thanks to their finish. A silver carrying case is also available for purchase. With your own yarn swift and Knit Picks Yarn Winder you’ve got an excellent winding station.
How Does It Compare?
- Built To Last? – Made of carefully constructed laminated birch to ensure tensile strength and longevity
- Smooth Finish? – Yes, makes winding balls and various skein lengths a breeze
- Easy Set-Up? – Like most yarn swifts, setup is quick and easy
- Clamp Capacity – The clamp opening fits a surface depth up to 1.5 inches thick
- Sturdy Clamps? – The top and bottom of the clamp section is wooden. The metal hardware screw is strong. It has plastic stopper at the end to prevent scratches when clamping the swift onto a table.
- Adjustable? – This yarn swift holds skein sizes of up to 66″ in circumference
- Packs Down? – Portable and foldable
Product Design: Knit Picks has created detailed instructional videos on how to use this birch yarn swift. Use it in combination with their winder. If you want to save money, sign up to their newsletter with your email address.
Product Evolution: It avoids the problem some wooden yarns swifts have, in the screws cracking or breaking, because the metal screws feature strong materials.
- 1 1/2 inches is the range of the table clamp
- The umbrella swift yarn winder is constructed from durable materials
- Hardware made of golden brass
- Ordering these items and adding it to your cart online is easy
- Perfect for spinners and dyers as it creates lovely results
- Compatible with various yarn weights and yarn loops
- Nothing beats the smooth, efficient spin of this item
- Screws made of hard-wearing metal
- Cheap shipping to the United States and the United Kingdom
- Storage is easy with this wooden umbrella swift
- Helps to find knots or joins in yarn skeins
- Creates beautiful center-pull balls or yarn cakes
- The yarn stays in place without getting tangled
- You may need to apply wood wax or polish to ensure the center sliding mechanism moves smoothly. It shouldn’t be too difficult
- Sometimes on rare occasions, defects occur. If you have a complaint, talk to their friendly customer service team
- Only good for small and medium yardage
- You need an account to purchase from this site
Just recently a new hardwood version has been released by Knit Picks. The Cocobolo is their luxury option that has a lovely antique look. The different red grains with the red ties are special.
Stanwood Needlecraft Tabletop Amish Yarn SwiftCheck Price On Amazon
With its solid wood construction, this tabletop Amish Style swift is easily adjustable for smaller or larger rings of yarn. You can use it on a table or on the floor, as its name suggests. Works with many string types. It spins smoothly and makes winding yarn fun.
Metal components or screws aren’t present. It’s entirely made of wood. A short central dowel connects the two wooden base sections. There are 2 arms on the dowel; when crisscrossed, they become four. You can get a great Amish-style yarn swift and yarn winder from this reputable brand.
How Does It Compare?
- Built To Last? – Yes, with the same materials and quality you expect from their other products
- Smooth Finish? – This quality swift is finely sanded and will spin round effortlessly
- Easy Set-Up? – Yes as there are instructions included, and start winding yarn neatly fast!
- Adjustable? – Adjusts to hold hank sizes of skeins 2 1/2 – 6 feet in circumference
- Packs Down? – Easily disassemble quality parts for convenient storage
Product Design: Designed to sit easily on a flat surface.
- Simple to assemble
- The finish is finely sanded, so there are no fumes from the heavy wood varnish
- 4 non-slip pads make it stable on tables
- A smooth spin
- Like most Amish style swifts, it has easily adjustable pegs
- How much space do you have? There’s no way to fit it in a small space because it’s so big
- It makes a loud noise when rotating, according to some users. Apply wood wax to fix it
Schacht Ultra Umbrella Swift Yarn Winder
Knitters and yarn store owners use these models. This horizontal and vertical swift is a reliable tool. The design is strong, sturdy, and reliable enough to last for generations to come. Using a quick-release pin, you can use this yarn swift vertically or horizontally. A swiveling knob and ball bearings ensure smooth winding.
A counter is available as an option for this horizontal and vertical yarn swift.
How Does It Compare?
- Built To Last? – Yes! It’ll last for years to come as the materials are high quality
- Smooth Finish? – Finely sanded surface
- Easy Set-Up? – More complicated than other swifts as there are more parts, but instructions are included
- Sturdy Clamps? – This wood umbrella swift has super sturdy clamps
- Adjustable? – Different yarn types and weights can be accommodated. The heavy-duty swift can accommodate skeins, hank sizes, and circumferences up to 93″ in diameter
- Packs Down? – Yes, however it’s difficult to disassemble
Product Design: The vertical and angled swift with a counter is an excellent extra feature, however, it’s significantly more expensive than the normal model. It’s well-loved in the crochet and knitting world.
Product Evolution: The option to create neat yarn cakes using the horizontal or vertical position is truly unique. This swift easily converts between the modes, and I’ve never seen another design like it.
- These umbrella-style yarn swifts open from the top down
- Swift clamps on most tables, even those with thick edges
- Sanded to a smooth surface
- The ribs are held in place by steel pins and plastic buttons
- Capacity is large
- Center shaft and metal supports are highly durable
- Screw-in clamps don’t damage surfaces
- You can set it up horizontally or vertically anywhere!
- No snagging of the yarn
- Great for extended usage
- This swift features metal hardware and thick, strong screws
- This isn’t lightweight
- Mounting it requires a suitable area
Beka Yarn SwiftCheck Price On Amazon
A Beka swift has a heavy wood base and a tabletop design. The spinner is made of hard maple wood with metal ball bearings. There is no need to clamp it to furniture. Moving yarn up or down accommodates different sizing.
These are the wooden parts to it –
- To support the dowels, there are two long bottom bars
- The dowels are held in place on top by two shorter bars
- Four wooden dowels
- A central support beam
- A lazy susan-like base
- There is a top nob with a washer
- Rubber feet on all four sides
Because of the sloping of the dowels, place smaller yarn circles towards the top and larger ones towards the bottom.
How Does It Compare?
- Built To Last? – Sturdy construction and great stability
- Smooth Finish? – Sanded down to a smooth finish
- Easy Set-Up? – Assembling this unit isn’t difficult as there are few parts
- Sturdy Clamps? – It doesn’t have them, as it’s not an umbrella swift
- Adjustable? – Easily accommodates skeins of varying sizes (including quite a large circumference skein)
- What Are The Storage Options? – It doesn’t pack down, so disassemble it
Product Design: Though it’s a bit of a hassle to break down every time you want to move it somewhere, it’s designed to look lovely! So you might like to leave it one part of your house on display when not in use.
Product Evolution: They’ve made many improvements to it over the years to improve the winding quality and ease of set-up.
- Smoothly rotates
- The spinning of the circle of yarn is quiet
- Fits a single yarn skein easily
- It’s easy to place the wool over the top
- Free from squeaks
- Securely holds fibers in place
- It’s easy to wind yarn with this yarn swift
- A great deal for the money
- It takes up a fair amount of space
- Initially, spinning can be tight
- Be careful not to wind too tightly as the yarn may lose its elasticity
ChiaoGoo Wooden Tabletop Yarn Swift
Chiaogoo Amish Design Swift features a smooth wood finish. The 4 moveable pegs allow it to be adjusted to fit different skein loops. This Amish-style wooden yarn swift is easy to assemble. The piece comes in four parts: two for the base and two for the crisscrossed arms. Five dowels are used, four as pegs, and one in the center that the arms go over. Peg holes are labeled with the skein size in inches and centimeters.
How Does It Compare?
- Built To Last? – Made from solid and durable wood
- Smooth Finish? – Yes, as it’s sanded to the utmost smoothness
- Easy Set-Up? – There are few parts, so it’s easy to assemble
- Sturdy Clamps? – None, it sits on a table
- Adjustable? – Holds yarn up to 62″ in circumference
- Packs Down? – Disassembles easily but doesn’t fold or pack away
Product Design: Designed with the same quality as the popular Chiaogoo knitting needles and crochet hooks.
Product Evolution: On rare occasions, the product has arrived with a defect, but the customer has excellent customer service and will immediately replace it.
- Easy and fun to use
- Fits hank sizes from small to large
- The finish is smooth, as is the rotation
- Holds the yarn in place
- The non-skid pads keep it from sliding
- Space is needed
- It’s difficult to store
- Holds a small range of sizes
- Moisture can collect in wood if it dries out
CuteDIY Umbrella SwiftCheck Price On Amazon
It’s made of plastic and metal, so it’s not as sturdy as wooden fixtures. These plastic yarn swifts work great as a basic, low-cost budget alternative. Great for people who don’t wind a lot of yarn. With the turn of a wing nut, this swift converts into a vertical one. Combine it with a compact yarn ball winder, and you’re ready!
How Does It Compare?
- Built To Last? – Might not last as long as wooden models as it’s made of plastic
- Smooth Finish? – Mostly, except some metal parts may snag the yarn
- Easy Set-Up? – Simple to assemble and use as there are few parts
- Sturdy Clamps? – Yes, on the base with a capacity of 1.75″
- Adjustable? – A 4-ounce ball of yarn works well with this thing
- Packs Down? – The lightweight, compact design makes it easy to store
Product Design: This metal and plastic swift is designed for the beginner knitter or crocheter.
Product Evolution: Sometimes the rings connecting the holder rods to the center rods fall out of the hooks. You might fix that by tightening the clamps with pliers. Hopefully, the makers come up with a solution for this!
- They spin smoothly around for turning yarn into a ball
- Metal parts make it more durable
- The price is budget-friendly
- Good for lace weight yarns that aren’t fuzzy
- The swift is fragile, so be careful
- Plastic components or materials aren’t durable
- Because of burrs in the plastic covering for the clamp, padding is required between it and the table.
- You might have to cut large skeins in half or into smaller pieces
- Metal loops may catch the yarn
- A wood table may be marked by clamps
Things To Consider In A Yarn Swift
Here are some key decision-making factors to consider when choosing the best yarn swifts.
Is It Built To Last?
You need something to last, as you’re going to wind lots of yarn if this is your primary hobby. Look for something with excellent reviews, made of sturdy wood or metal, and ones with parts that are easily replaceable.
How Smooth Is The Finish?
The last thing you want is the yarn catching! Finely sanded finishes are the smoothest ones.
Is It Easy To Set Up?
Time is precious, so spend it wisely. Ensure the product you choose requires minimal set up, so you can get on with knitting or crocheting! Also check if instructions are included, and they’re straightforward.
Table Clamps That Are Sturdy?
With umbrella swifts, if the clamp isn’t sturdy, it might fall, damage the table or break. Avoid these potential problems by getting something durable. Also check the clamp range will fit the tables you have.
What Style Do You Prefer? Tabletop Swifts Or Umbrella Swifts?
This is something you have to decide. Ask friends or watch YouTube demonstrations of each style to determine which would fit you best. Also consider how much space you have! If you’re limited, avoid tabletop ones, and get an umbrella style yarn swift.
Is It Adjustable For Different Circumferences Of Yarn?
Get a small swift if you use smaller weight yarns. Otherwise, get a bigger one.
Does It Pack Down For Storage?
An essential thing to consider, especially if you don’t have an area you can set it up on and leave it there when not in use.
Which Is The Best Yarn Swift For You?
- Knitter’s Pride Signature Yarn Swift – An excellent mid-range choice, lightweight but not flimsy
- TheKnitStore Tabletop Yarn Swift – Serious quality and excellent customer service
- Stanwood Needlecraft Umbrella Yarn Swift -Trusted brand and the quality of materials is excellent
- Knit Picks Yarn Swift (Onyx & Birch Versions) – Combines the best of style, affordability, and range of yarns it can accommodate
- Stanwood Needlecraft Tabletop Amish Yarn Swift – A superb choice for people who prefer large tabletop styles
- Schacht Ultra Umbrella Yarn Swifts – Excellent for yarn store owners, indie dyers, and other businesses involving yarn, or for some serious personal use!
- Beka Yarn Swift – Makes for an impressive display in your craft room and is also good for winding many hank sizes
- ChiaoGoo Wooden Tabletop Yarn Swift – A lightweight alternative to other Amish swifts
- CuteDIY Umbrella Swift – Great for budget knitters, crocheters, and crafters or small amounts of yarn
FAQs About Swifts
What Is A Yarn Swift?
Wood, metal, and plastic are the materials of Yarn Swift. It is an essential tool for knitters and crocheters. Most yarn swifts are wooden. They all produce center-pull balls or cakes, but there are many types: handheld, tabletop design, umbrella-style, or vertical (aka Squirrel Cage).
How To Use Yarn Swift & Yarn Ball Winder – How Does A Yarn Swift Work?
For how to set up yarn swift, see the instructions provided with your swift. A swift works as follows.
Winding yarns with a yarn swift – begin by clamping the swift to a table or countertop. Expert knitters recommend using a tablecloth or padding to protect your table surfaces. (Bye-bye dining room chairs!) The Umbrella Swift and Ball Winder Combo save you a great deal of time. With a winder and yarn swift, you can make center pull cakes. (Having the end in the middle makes knitting easier.)
You can make center-pull cakes out of hanks using the best yarn winders and swifts with each other. Next, follow this quick tutorial, and you’ll be winding yarn in no time!
- Slide the clamp at the base of the yarn swift onto the table and tighten the bolt
- Untwist the yarn hank or skein of yarn and remove the label
- Place the ring of yarn strands over the yarn swift
- Lightly pull the fiber ring so the far side of the hank faces the middle shaft.
- By pushing the tightening screw upward, open the arms of the closed yarn swift like an umbrella
- Make sure the yarn or skein form is taut on the yarn swift
- Secure the umbrella clamp in place
- Identify all the tied sections of the yarn hank/skein by spinning it around
- Remove the ties.
- The one end is on the outside, and the other is on the inside
- Begin winding with the end on the outside.
- Yarn swifts hold the yarn evenly tensioned. Let’s wind the yarn!
- Begin gently with a gentle tug, so you can see how the yarn swift and wool winder work and how fast the yarn winds
- From there, increase the speed
- A neat yarn cake (a center-pull yarn ball) forms with little effort
- The yarn swift works while you wind your yarn
- How fun!
How To Use Amish Yarn Swift
The above process applies to the Amish style swift too, but follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer for assembling it first.
How To Make Yarn Swift
Here is an excellent tutorial on making a DIY yarn swift by Steve Ramsey. (Maybe you can convince your handy spouse, wife or husband to make one for you!)
Can You Use A Yarn Winder Without A Swift?
Yes, but make sure you wind slowly so the yarn doesn’t tangle.
Yarn Swift Substitute
Here are a few ideas on what to use instead if you don’t have the budget.
- Two chair backs
- A patient person’s outstretched arms
- Sit somewhere with your legs out in front, spread them slightly, and hold the ring of yarn around your ankles
- Some yarn stores will wind the yarn for you! Only choose this option if you’re going to use it straight away. Otherwise, the longer it sits in cake form, the more tension it loses (It might also cost extra)
Why Use A Yarn Swift?
The way you buy your yarn will determine everything. If you use hanks, buy them! They allow for trouble-free balling, free of knots and tangles. Knitters, crocheters, thread makers, and weavers all benefit from these tools! With yarn winders and your yarn swift, you create yarn cakes (yarn muffins) rather than yarn balls. It’s a brilliant method.
What Is The Purpose Of A Yarn Swift?
Yarn hanks or skeins of yarn are held in place by this tool, and when it spins, yarn streams out in a single, untangled strand. It holds hanks, and it’s for winding yarn into yarn balls. Many yarns are sold in hanks or skeins. How do you describe a hank of yarn? Traditionally, a hank is a large ring of yarn twisted on itself.
Spinners and hand yarn dyers also use it in the opposite manner. It is used to wind loose yarn into a big circle, then to put it into hanks.
Who Invented The Yarn Swift?
It’s been around much longer than the ball winder, which was invented in the 1990s. No person is specifically credited with the creation, as it’s developed over hundreds of years of people working with fibers and textiles.
Why Is A Yarn Swift A Good Investment?
A yarn swift is an excellent tool. After all, you want to knit sooner! Yarn winding with a yarn winder and yarn swift is fun. They can be used together to wrap yarn into cakes. There is something addictive about using a yarn winder to wind your stash of hanks and skeins into neat little yarn cakes.
Just don’t let it distract you from your other yarn projects 🙂
Does A Swift And Yarn Winder Create A Yarn Cake?
A yarn swift holds the yarn and allows it to freely unravel, while the yarn winder winds the yarn to create a yarn cake
I hope the yarn swift makes winding hanks easier for you. I hope you have fun knitting and crocheting! Do you have a favorite swift I didn’t mention? Do you have a question? Is there anything I missed on the matter? Leave a comment below. Email addresses aren’t disclosed in the comments.