A couple of weeks ago, I decided to learn how to use my ball winder and yarn swift. What are those, you ask?

Ever see yarn that’s wound into a hank, instead of a skein or ball? Here’s an example:

This yarn is called Pool Party, from Arkansas Yarn Co. As you can see, it’s twisted, which makes it easy to store. In order to crochet or knit with it, you have to wind it into a ball or a skein. This is where the winder and the swift come in. I bought a plastic table top ball winder, which you can get online or at any craft store. They make fancier ones, but the simple one works for me. Then I decided to get a tabletop swift, which is also called an Amish yarn swift.

There are several things I like about this swift–it’s easy to assemble and store (it only has a few pieces) and it’s simple to use. I suggest putting a towel or a rubber mat underneath the stand because it will move while you’re winding the yarn. Once I got the swift assembled and the pegs in place, I was ready to put on the hank.

Surprisingly, this took some practice. What I learned is that before you untie the pieces of yarn that keep the hank together, you should wrap it around the pegs first. The pegs are adjustable, which is great when you’re working with different sizes of yarn. Once the yarn is in place, then you can snip the yarn pieces, thread the yarn through the ball winder, and you’re ready to go.

My first attempt wasn’t a success. Neither was my second or third, but I finally got the hang of it after a few tries.

Still not perfect, but it will do.

I find winding yarn this way to be relaxing, and I like it better than winding it by hand. I don’t think it’s necessary to use the swift and winder with skeins of yarn, but it’s a must when you want to use hanks.

Question: Have you ever used a winder and yarn swift? Do you have any tips?