Knitter's Review Forums
  The online community for readers of Knitter's Review.
  This week: Can felt be fixed?
   > Have you subscribed yet?
Knitter's Review Forums
KR Home | My Profile | Register | Active Topics | Private Messages | Search | FAQ | Want to make Betty happy?
Username:
Password:
Save Password
Forgot your username or password?

 All Forums
 Tool Talk
 Gadgets
 Swifts
 New Topic  Reply to Topic
 Printer Friendly
Next Page
Author Previous Topic Topic Next Topic
Page: of 3

Clara
queen bee

USA
4404 Posts

Posted - 11/11/2009 :  8:19:50 PM  Show Profile  Visit Clara's Homepage Send Clara a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I thought it was time for us to revisit a tool that pops up perennially in my in-box: the umbrella swift. What is it? Do I really need one? While only you can answer that latter question, I do offer this input.

In the universal lexicon of hand gestures, if you stand in front of a knitter and hold out your arms, with your palms facing one another, you've just offered to hold that person's hank of yarn while he or she winds it into a ball. For hundreds of years, our early domestic tasks often included holding a skein of yarn in outstretched arms while our mothers, sisters, or aunts expertly wound the yarn into a ball. If a gentleman suitor was willing to hold skeins for his beloved, marital bliss was almost guaranteed.

But today's picture has changed to one of greater solitude, with busy schedules and not-so-willing suitors. Some knitters resort to draping yarn between chairbacks, an often flawed approach. Others simply lay the skein on the floor and patiently rotate themselves around it, stopping repeatedly to disentangle the yarn. When I have time, I confess a preference for setting the skein on my lap and slowly, tenderly winding each yard by hand—it's a quiet, intimate way to get to know my yarn.

But we don't always have a lot of time. And some skeins can hold more yarn than you'd ever want to manage by hand. A far better solution is the umbrella swift, an ingenious little device for holding skeins under tension so you can unravel them and easily wrap your yarn into balls.

...read the full story

Clara
Your friendly Knitter's Review publisher

minh
Permanent Resident and Destasher Extraordinnaire

USA
3461 Posts

Posted - 11/11/2009 :  8:52:06 PM  Show Profile  Visit minh's Homepage Send minh a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Such a timely topic for me as I am going to ask DH for an umbrella swift as a holiday present ;)

I already own a Mama Bear swift but since I don't have much space, an umbrella swift is really the best option. The Maine made cherry swift looks amazing!
Go to Top of Page

norsknitter
New Pal

7 Posts

Posted - 11/12/2009 :  03:37:11 AM  Show Profile Send norsknitter a Private Message  Reply with Quote
My husband bought me a squirrel swift for Christmas a few yars ago. I put my umbrella swift away permanently, This sits on the floor and it is so attractive I keep it in the living room. It works beautifully, never over balances and looks like a piece of ealry American Art, which it probably is.

No swift discussion is complete unless and until you mention the marvelous totally functional squirrel swift.
Go to Top of Page

sockjoan
Warming Up

Australia
59 Posts

Posted - 11/12/2009 :  03:53:04 AM  Show Profile Send sockjoan a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I call my umbrella swift my "Artificial Daughter". It's a lot more biddable than the real daughters, and anyway they left home a very long time ago. I'm a spinner, so I absolutely have to have such a device. DH only has the patience for very short skeins!
Go to Top of Page

jhd@atlanticbb.net
New Pal

3 Posts

Posted - 11/12/2009 :  05:19:50 AM  Show Profile Send jhd@atlanticbb.net a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Check out ChiaoGoo needles web page. I got mine at a local shop and I love love love it.Great price I think about $36.00
Go to Top of Page

knitbliss
New Pal

USA
16 Posts

Posted - 11/12/2009 :  05:45:56 AM  Show Profile  Visit knitbliss's Homepage Send knitbliss a Private Message  Reply with Quote
While in my heart I would really love to have a cherry umbrella swift, the kid in me loves my Tinker Toy yarn swift - and it fits my knitting budget. Thanks to Jen at http://www.folkcatart.com/blogs/jen/?p=742 and her ingenious mind we have a demo of how to make a yarn swift out of Hasbro's Classic Jumbo Builder Set (available for around $30). A fun way to wind a ball or two. This swift solution is a little rickety but very colorful. The Tinker Toy swift tends to skate across a hard surface so it helps to put it on a piece of carpet. I get a lot of laughs from my knitting friends when I use it, but, I'm still saving up for a REAL swift.

Knit in Bliss!
Go to Top of Page

knitz2
Permanent Resident

USA
1800 Posts

Posted - 11/12/2009 :  06:51:25 AM  Show Profile  Visit knitz2's Homepage Send knitz2 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
a problem I see with most umbrella swifts is that they must be mounted on a piece of furniture -- I have mine fastened to the top shelf of a short bookcase. a lady I spoke with a few days ago would like to get a swift but has measured table edges, etc. at her home and the edges are all too thick for the swifts we have been seeing to fit on them.

I know somewhere - sometime in the past I've seen a wooden umbrella swift with a weighted circular wooden base that sits on a table ~~ maybe someone here can direct me to a place they're sold. I do remember them being a bit on the pricey side is why I didn't get one for myself at the time but Ms B could afford one.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Life isn't about waiting for the storm to pass ...
.....it's learning how to dance in the rain!
Come visit me at http://yarnbasket.wordpress.com
Go to Top of Page

Scary Knitter
New Pal

1 Posts

Posted - 11/12/2009 :  07:17:43 AM  Show Profile Send Scary Knitter a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Try looking on Etsy for a swift. I have found several there. I like supporting those who make useful, functional items. I showed my husband the pictures from Etsy and he made me one. His thing is woodworking (he's better at woodworking than I am at knitting. I make him sweaters and socks and he has made me a canoe and a kayak) and I now have a lovely hand made swift of oak. It's set up is similar to the tinker toy swift.
Go to Top of Page

zknit08
Chatty Knitter

USA
315 Posts

Posted - 11/12/2009 :  07:46:25 AM  Show Profile  Visit zknit08's Homepage Send zknit08 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Thank you for this interesting and informative article. I've seen this swift somewhere before, but I did'nt know what it was for, now I know.

Thanks,

zknit
Go to Top of Page

Lanea
Permanent Resident

USA
5190 Posts

Posted - 11/12/2009 :  07:47:20 AM  Show Profile  Visit Lanea's Homepage Send Lanea a Private Message  Reply with Quote
knitz2, I have a table-top umbrella swift, and I love it. I bought mine at Uniquities, one of my local yarn shops, and it was imported from Italy. It's the same model pictured at the bottom of this page: http://www.yarn-store.com/yarn-winders-and-swifts.html The only thing I think could be improved about it is the maximum diameter you can lock in place with the screw on the spindle.

I've also use table top swifts like this (http://www.instructables.com/id/SewUseful:-Portable-Tabletop-Yarn-Swift-for-windi/) that I liked.


See proof of insanity: http://crazylanea.com/
Read my audiobook reviews: http://booksforears.com/
Buy handmade sock knitting bags: http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5031570
Join the KR Webring: http://www.crazylanea.com/fiberarts/2006/07/the_knitters_re.html
Go to Top of Page

yarnlover
Permanent Resident

1753 Posts

Posted - 11/12/2009 :  08:14:21 AM  Show Profile Send yarnlover a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I have the squirrel cage swift also - love it. No set up other than putting the skein on it. I also leave it out as an accessory in my foyer. I haven't ever had an umbrella swift as I always liked the time to hand wind using knees and toes to hold the skein. I still do that occasionally, but if I use the squirrel and don't finish, the whole thing can go sit quietly in a corner and be out of the way til I get back to it.

See My Stuff: Here

Go to Top of Page

chris
Permanent Resident

USA
2463 Posts

Posted - 11/12/2009 :  08:26:55 AM  Show Profile Send chris a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I have a clamp on and a table top swift, both wood. I, too, am limited to where I can clamp my swift, but I still use it more than the table top model. It's simply easier to work with. I'm at the point where I have to clamp it and my ball winder to TV trays (wooden ones), but, hey, it works. When I bought my swift(s) and ball winder, I thought I was being indulgent and frivolous. After looking at the same models and seeing how much they've gone up in price, I'm glad I was! I do LOVE the Maine made cherry one! I just can't be that indulgent any more!
Go to Top of Page

Cougar1
New Pal

9 Posts

Posted - 11/12/2009 :  08:45:22 AM  Show Profile Send Cougar1 a Private Message  Reply with Quote
I found a different one at a flea market/antique shop for $5. It's called The New Hubby Skein Caddy...I'm not sure the person who bought it even used it...it still has the shipping paper and her envelope she ordered it with in 1968 inside the box. It cost her $3.98 total, shipping and all.
Go to Top of Page

Pat in east Texas
Chatty Knitter

314 Posts

Posted - 11/12/2009 :  08:48:04 AM  Show Profile Send Pat in east Texas a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Mine is a big lampshade, loosened. It works and it's free!

A civilization that regards nuclear energy as important and knitting as trivial, is surely headed for destruction. - Message in a fortune cookie, paraphrased.
Go to Top of Page

hewysmom
New Pal

USA
10 Posts

Posted - 11/12/2009 :  09:19:54 AM  Show Profile Send hewysmom a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Clara

I thought it was time for us to revisit a tool that pops up perennially in my in-box: the umbrella swift. What is it? Do I really need one? While only you can answer that latter question, I do offer this input.

In the universal lexicon of hand gestures, if you stand in front of a knitter and hold out your arms, with your palms facing one another, you've just offered to hold that person's hank of yarn while he or she winds it into a ball. For hundreds of years, our early domestic tasks often included holding a skein of yarn in outstretched arms while our mothers, sisters, or aunts expertly wound the yarn into a ball. If a gentleman suitor was willing to hold skeins for his beloved, marital bliss was almost guaranteed.

But today's picture has changed to one of greater solitude, with busy schedules and not-so-willing suitors. Some knitters resort to draping yarn between chairbacks, an often flawed approach. Others simply lay the skein on the floor and patiently rotate themselves around it, stopping repeatedly to disentangle the yarn. When I have time, I confess a preference for setting the skein on my lap and slowly, tenderly winding each yard by hand—it's a quiet, intimate way to get to know my yarn.

But we don't always have a lot of time. And some skeins can hold more yarn than you'd ever want to manage by hand. A far better solution is the umbrella swift, an ingenious little device for holding skeins under tension so you can unravel them and easily wrap your yarn into balls.

...read the full story

Clara
Your friendly Knitter's Review publisher




Hewy's Mom
Go to Top of Page

hewysmom
New Pal

USA
10 Posts

Posted - 11/12/2009 :  09:28:29 AM  Show Profile Send hewysmom a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Sorry for that first blank - still a newby at this

Found the umbrella part of an umbrella swift at an antique/junk shop. It's missing the pole (the 'handle' on a real umbrella), and, of course, the end of the pole that allows you to attach it, temporarily, to a table. I was thinking I could get the right sized dowel from a hardware or crafts store, but do you have an opinion as to how difficult it will be for me to find the attaching-to-table hardware and attach it to the 'handle' dowel? difficult enough to ditch it and go for a new (to me) swift? If not, any ideas about where I should start (to look for this hardware)?

Thanks for the article - I've been looking for where to ask this very question.

Hewy's Mom
Go to Top of Page

GFTC
Permanent Resident

USA
6331 Posts

Posted - 11/12/2009 :  09:32:58 AM  Show Profile  Visit GFTC's Homepage Send GFTC a Private Message  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by knitz2

I know somewhere - sometime in the past I've seen a wooden umbrella swift with a weighted circular wooden base that sits on a table ~~ maybe someone here can direct me to a place they're sold.



Here's the link for the swift you are looking for: Nifty Swift
You have to scroll down to "Nifty Swift" which is at the bottom of the page.

I have the above linked swift. Most of my yarn is in hanks that have to be wound and I constantly use the swift along with a ball winder since my personal preference is for a center pull ball.

The weighted base of the swift is so well balanced that I have taken to placing it on my bed and pulling the yarn across to the window where the ball winder is clamped. The swift has never tipped over.

I was another knitter who thought buying a swift was frivolous but within 24 hours after buying it I realized how wrong I was. I don't like to have my yarn wound at LYS and, anyway, a lot of my yarn comes from online not LYS. I like that I can wind a couple of skeins as I need it and the leftover skeins remain in original condition.

I also use my swift to put yarn back into hanks from wound balls. An example is Noro sock yarn which comes in a center pull ball. I rewind the ball on my ball winder to check for knots, twigs, and live forest life (never found any!). Then I wind it from the ball onto the swift to create a skein/hank which I wash in the sink. After it's dry it goes back onto the swift and then the ball winder to create a center pull ball that has no surprises in store.

For someone who does a lot of knitting the money put towards a swift is a onetime expense that will pay for itself over and over.

GFTC of NYC
my knitting photos on Flickr or Ravelry
Go to Top of Page

2totangle
Permanent Resident

1212 Posts

Posted - 11/12/2009 :  09:45:48 AM  Show Profile Send 2totangle a Private Message  Reply with Quote
My clamp-on table-top swift is a guilty pleasure. I just wound 11 skeins, all the time being glad that I'd indulged myself during more prosperous times.

However, I find that in my dry climate, my swift isn't turning as freely as I'd like, which means I have to be careful not to wind too tightly. Before I tried sanding, oiling, and other things that might botch it up entirely, I wanted to ask if anyone has any tips for solving this issue.

Suzanne

Flickr pics: http://www.flickr.com/photos/2totangle/
Ravelry project page: http://www.ravelry.com/projects/2totangle
Go to Top of Page

GFTC
Permanent Resident

USA
6331 Posts

Posted - 11/12/2009 :  10:17:16 AM  Show Profile  Visit GFTC's Homepage Send GFTC a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Suzanne, check to see if any stray yarn or fibers have clogged the swift where spinner joins the post.

GFTC of NYC
my knitting photos on Flickr or Ravelry
Go to Top of Page

2totangle
Permanent Resident

1212 Posts

Posted - 11/12/2009 :  11:30:50 AM  Show Profile Send 2totangle a Private Message  Reply with Quote
GFTC, no stray fibers, just dry wood.

Suzanne

Flickr pics: http://www.flickr.com/photos/2totangle/
Ravelry project page: http://www.ravelry.com/projects/2totangle
Go to Top of Page

modeknit
Warming Up

USA
73 Posts

Posted - 11/12/2009 :  11:37:14 AM  Show Profile  Visit modeknit's Homepage Send modeknit a Private Message  Reply with Quote
When I'm on the road, I tend to use a lampshade when I haven't remembered my metal one.

http://www.modeknit.com/blog/uploaded_images/IMG_4514-754665.JPG

I do prefer the metal, they fold up so neatly, are easy to store and take on the road

They're also easy to use if you want to skein a ball because you want to dye the yarn, or need it re-skeined for whatever reason (extra hint: just set the width for 1 yd and you'll know exactly how much yardage is in your ball)

Annie Modesitt
Knit Designer / Craft Writer
annie@modeknit.com
http://www.anniemodesitt.com

Confessions of a Knitting Heretic now in it's 5th printing!
http://www.knittingheretic.com
Go to Top of Page
Page: of 3 Previous Topic Topic Next Topic  
Next Page
 New Topic  Reply to Topic
 Printer Friendly
Jump To:
Knitter's Review Forums © 2001-2014 Knitter's Review Go To Top Of Page
This page was generated in 0.53 seconds. Snitz Forums 2000
line This week's bandwidth
kindly brought to you by


and by knitters like you.
How can I sponsor?


line subscribe to Knitter's Reviwe