Wednesday, 23 August 2017

How to make a yarn swift

I've been itching to cast on with another skein of the gorgeous hand dyed yarns I've bought. But they're skeins - or hanks, or whatever you choose to call them, not balls. Now I have a yarn winder to actually wind it into a ball. But I have nothing designed to hold the skein. I know there are gadgets out there and have looked at prices and gulped a bit. Quite a bit actually!
Some of them look like 2 umbrella skeletons doing something they shouldn't while they hold your yarn! And a much simpler affair of 2 wooden rods that cross in the middle and spin round a central spindle. An instagram friend posted a video of hers and I kept watching it,  wondering how I could cobble one together.
Now don't get me wrong,  hers was beautiful and I wanted it but it wouldn't come cheap. And it wouldn't be used often either! So I decided to save my money  (and spend it on yarn!) and make it myself.

I've spent quite a while pondering what to use for the central spindle as that would be the key to the whole thing working. And then finally I saw it! I was in Poundland and saw what looked like  a miniature traffic cone. Perfect! And it was only £1! (Actually, it was part of a child's football training kit - 4 mini cones and a tiny soft football.)

I hunted out some scraps of thick card I knew I had tucked away and cut 2 strips. Then I had to cut a circle in the middle of each that would fit neatly over the cone. Luckily my sister had a gadget for cutting circles for hand made greetings cards and although it didn't cut right through, I was able to finish off with a craft knife.

To stop the whole thing tilting as it spun, I took a plastic plant pot and cut a hole in the bottom big enough that it could sit upside down over the cone. That would give a level surface.

The 2 pieces of card were then placed on top, at right angles to each other - I made a couple of tiny holes and threaded a bit of wool through and tied, so they wouldn't move.  I could have glued them together but I wanted to take it apart afterwards.

To hold the skein of yarn in place at each end of the crossed pieces of card, I made a small hole near the edge and pushed a knitting needle through each one.

Finally,  to anchor it in place,  I taped it to the back of my mini ironing board.

I took hold of the end of the yarn and threaded it onto my yarn winder and started winding it slowly - and OMG,  it worked like an absolute DREAM!!!!!! I was so pleased I was almost jumping up and down!

I got my sister to make a little video of it in use - I'm winding quite slowly here but I did actually manage to get up quite a good speed with it!! And the yarn didn't tangle until it got to the last couple of metres.

You can just about see all the components in this pic, along with my lovely hand dyed yarn cake -

Tina's Allsorts Yarn Swift

Heath Robinson eat your heart out! 

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