Crocheting is a beloved hobby that requires a lot of preparation and organization, especially when it comes to handling yarn. A yarn swift is an essential tool for any crocheter, as it allows you to easily wind and untangle skeins of yarn. Here I share my recommendations for the best.
Relax and wind your yarn into usable cakes or balls. Chair backs, impatient family members’ arms, and yarn tangles are gone!Pair a swift and yarn winder, and you have a perfect setup.
My Quick Recommendations
- My Top Pick – Knit Picks Birch Swift Yarn Winder
- Best Luxury Option – Onyx Swift
- Best Budget Pick – Stanwood Needlecraft Umbrella Swift
I reviewed, fact checked and updated this post on May 3, 2023
Table Of Contents
- KnitPicks Birch Swift
- KnitPicks Onyx Swift
- Stanwood Needlecraft Wooden Umbrella Swift (Medium)
- Stanwood Needlecraft Amish Swift
- Beka Swift
- Stanwood Needlecraft Swift (Large)
- Chiaogoo Swift
- What is Yarn Swift?
- How To Set Up A Yarn Swift
- Choosing A Yarn Swift
Best Yarn Swift
My top pick is the umbrella swift below. It’s sturdy, smooth when in operation and has a lovely birch finish. It packs away by folding in the arms so it’s easy to store.
Birch Swift – Top Pick
This swift makes winding yarn fun. The wood of this umbrella swift yarn winder is smooth and durable. The umbrella swift is simple to use.
- 26″ (66cm) in diameter
- 68″ (173cm) circumference
- 26″ (66cm) tall
- These yarn swifts are made of strong materials
- Easy to set up
- Packs down for convenient storage
- Umbrella clamp fits edges up to 1 1/2″ thick
- Suits many yarn hanks
- This winder is made of wood
- Turns a yarn skein or hank into a convenient center pull yarn cake
- Clamp on base is sturdy
- This skein winder may need wood polish to ensure the center shaft sliding mechanism moves easily
- Some may not like the hemp ties holding parts of the machine together
- Can’t stand on the floor
For more on Umbrella Swifts, read my post.
Onyx Swift – Best Luxury Pick
The Knit Picks Yarn Swift (umbrella style swifts). (They don’t sell an Amish-style yarn swift.) Featuring laminated birch wood material with metal for added durability. No need to wind a ball of yarn by hand ever again! The metal screws feature a plastic stopper, preventing scratches on a table.
- Measures approx. 26″ (66cm) diameter
- (68″/173cm circumference)
- 26″ (66cm) tall when opened
- Table clamp opening fits edges up to 1 1/2″ thick
- These are sturdy wooden yarn swifts
- Strong materials
- Hard-wearing screws
- Ships to the United Kingdom
- Easy to set up, pack down, and store
- Simple to order online
- Affordable price
- Great whether you knit or crochet
- Budget friendly
- Suits small and large skiens
- Fine sanding makes a smooth surface
- Squeak free
- If you run into problems, you can contact their friendly customer service team here (you’ll need to provide your email address)
- May need wood wax to ensure the center sliding mechanism moves easily
Stanwood Needlecraft Wooden Umbrella Yarn Winder – Best Budget Pick
A medium-sized solid wooden Umbrella Swift, made of birch wood with a sanded finish. One of the best yarn swifts, it’s one of the more popular varieties of swift. Handles skeins of yarn 6ft in circumference.
This wooden umbrella swift yarn is quiet when working, and the spin is smooth. This Stanwood umbrella swift is popular because of its easy setup, effortless storage, and durability.
Like other umbrella swifts, it has a hemp cord to keep the ribs together.
For more information on Amish vs Umbrella swifts, read my post.
- Holds up to 6ft of a wool skein in circumference.
- Goes on various surfaces, 1 3/4 inch thick such as tables, benches, or dining room chairs
- This wood umbrella swift has sturdy construction
- Quality wood
- Makes a great yarn cake
- Packs down for storage
- Suits almost any size of yarn
- High-quality construction
- The metal tying wires are hidden in holes so they won’t hurt your hands
- More durable than winders made of plastic and metal
- On rare occasions, the clamp screw part on these yarn winders crack. Buy screw replacements as required
Stanwood Needlecraft Tabletop Amish Style Wooden
This wooden tabletop design Amish Style swift has pegs to make it adjustable. Within the slim wooden planks of the swift, there are holes where you position the pegs.
As the name suggests, it’s used on a table or the floor. This tabletop yarn swift is 28″ in diameter when two-arm crossbars are set up.
These Amish-style swifts are easy to disassemble and store when not in use. It takes up lots of room.
For more reviews on Amish Swifts, look at my post.
- Easy to assemble
- Fine sanded finish
- Suits all yarn types
- No heavy wood varnish fumes
- Has 4 non-slip pads
- Creates wonderful yarn balls or cakes
- Easily adjusted
- Hold yarn skeins between 2 1/2 – 6 ft in circumference
- Smooth spinning
- Use their equally good swift with each other
- Parts come apart for easy storage
- Heirloom quality
- Needs lots of space
- You may need a replacement screw as the existing ones sometimes break
The Beka brand is a tabletop wooden yarn swift with a heavy base. Made of hard maple wood with metal bearings, so it spins smoothly.
Hank of yarn, prepare to be winded by this great swift yarn winder.
- Easy to assemble with clear instructions
- Creates a great center pull skein
- Suits many different yarn
- Great craftsmanship
- Spins around with little effort
- Smooth edges so the yarn strands don’t snag
- Simple to drape the wool loop over the top
- Handles up to a 6ft circumference skein
- Easy to wind yarn into cakes
- Fits all sorts of sizes of yarn loops, from lace weight yarn to chunky
- These tabletop style yarn swifts don’t fold down for easy storage
- The wing nut is fragile, so treat it with caution
Wooden Umbrella (Large)
This traditional style wooden yarn swift is made of solid wood and is easy to fold away. This wood umbrella yarn swift handles larger skeins.
When folded out, the Stanwood umbrella takes much space in the room.
- Solid quality wood
- Suits nearly any weight yarn
- Handles skeins with a circumference of 8.5ft
- The swift clamps to the edge of a table, bench, or dining room chair without scratching the surface
- Spins with ease
- Great umbrella design
- Great heavy duty option
- Affordable shipping to the United States
- The wood base goes on edges up to 1 3/4 thick
- Solid, sturdy construction
- Compact when not in use
- Easy to store
- Some may not like the ties made of hemp holding the umbrella ribs section together on this expandable style yarn swift
ChiaoGoo Amish Design Wooden
The Chiaogoo Amish Style Wooden Yarn Swift features a smooth finish. It handles up to 62″ skein circumference of a skein of yarn.
Each of the four arms (wooden crossed sections) on these tabletop swifts has 6 holes. This Amish yarn swift is 25″ in diameter when set up.
- This hand operated winder is simple to use
- Create great yarn cakes (yarn muffins)
- Sections easy to assemble
- 4 moveable pegs
- This swift design handles different circumferences of skein loops and skein lengths
- No table clamps – placed flat on a table for stability
- Smooth finish so no snagging of fibers
- No toxic varnish fume
- Suits many weight yarns and hank sizes
- Keeps yarn in place
- To pack away, it must be disassembled
Oregon Wood Worker Mama Bear
Don’t you just love the name of this handcrafted yarn swift model! Their Unique Turning System™ creates a super smooth and quiet operation as there is no wood on wood.
It is heavy enough to stay stationary without the need for a clamp. Sanded to a fine finish with a clear coating, it will last for years.
- As part of Orgeon Wood Worker’s guaranteed Customer Service they include free pegs for the life of the item.
- It has an excellent yarn capacity to suit most yarns you’d buy.
- Extra long pegs to handle larger skeins of yarn
- Can be used on the floor
- You need a fair amount of space
- The pull string bag this item comes with is not as sturdy as a case
What is A Yarn Swift?
A yarn swift holds the yarn in hanks and skeins and prevents it from being tangled. Wind it into a neat, usable center-pull ball or cake using a ball winder.
A swift works with almost any loose yarn. It can accommodate many types.
Read my review for The Best Yarn Winders.
Sure, getting yarn wound into a ball at the yarn shop is excellent. But if you have it in the cupboard in your craft room for easy storage, beware!
The yarn fibers stretch and lose elasticity. You control when you prepare your yarn fibers for crocheting with a yarn swift and ball winder.
You can wind balls of yarn without a swift, but it’s a big hassle to use the back of a chair!
(There are electric yarn winders but no electric swifts.) There’s something called a nostepinne, which is a low-tech yarn winder. You wrap the yarn around it by hand to create neat cakes.
How To Set Up A Yarn Swift
Ensure you’ve assembled it according to the instructions. Now to get it operational! Don’t worry. Swifts are easy to set up and use.
- Have a Yarn Swift with a mount? Put it anywhere, even on your patio!
- Have one that sits flat? Find a surface with an empty area to fit it.
Once you’ve found your ideal area, clamp it, and tighten the screw securely. If you’re worried about a swift damaging the area, place a cloth underneath.
Repeat the same process if you’re using the best yarn winder with your swift.
Now you’re ready to start winding yarn.
How Does A Yarn Swift Work?
How To Use A Yarn Swift To Wind Yarn
- Prepare the hank for winding. Unwrap it until it’s a ring shape. Remove the label and scrap yarn holding it together.
- Don’t untie the hank! Wait until the hank form is on the swift.
- If using an umbrella swift, put the yarn circle around the yarn swift. Open out of the extendable sections.
- Push the center upwards until it fits snugly around the skein form.
- Ensure it isn’t loose; otherwise, the yarn might fall off! Secure the yarn swift with the screws, so it stays in place.
- If using a flat base swift, place the yarn circumference around the pegs and adjust the width. Secure them.
- Remove the yarn ties from the yarn.
- If using a yarn ball winder and swift, hold the yarn end from the outside. This ensures it doesn’t interrupt the flow of the swift.
- Attach it to the ball winder, and place it through the yarn guide arm and on the bobbin. Ensure everything is secure
- Crank the handle to use a yarn winder
- If using your fingers, wind slowly so it doesn’t get tangled.
Keep going until you’ve created your winded yarn! Now it won’t roll around when you crochet.
Choosing A Yarn Swift
There are many different styles of Yarn Swifts. They all create center-pull balls.
Here’s a breakdown of the types of yarn swifts.
- Named because they look like an umbrella
- This is the most popular style in the crochet and knitting world
- When collapsed, the umbrella style yarn swift is small
- Push it upwards so it expands outwards and pull down to close
- These swifts have clamps with screws to grip a surface like the side of a table
- Rotates horizontally from the center spindle
- Sometimes made of metal or plastic (Some are wood with metal parts)
- Sometimes, they have legs to set them on the floor
- They collapse and pack away easily
- Suits any string types and large skeins
Amish Or Tabletop Horizontal
- It’s called a table top swift because it sits on a flat surface or the top of a table
- A range of sizes to suit anything, from a crocheter to a knitter
- It has adjustable pegs inserted into peg holes on the arms to fit the skein sizes
- Packed away in shape or disassemble it
- This type of yarn swift is made from wood
- These tools need lots of space
- No screw in clamps or tightening screw
- It has two long, thin pieces of wood crisscrossing in the middle
- Crocheters and knitters who woodwork can make an Amish swift
Combination Umbrella Tabletop Swift
- Simple to set up
- These products don’t have many pieces
- Sits flat on any area you place it
- Has wood bars placed diagonally to hold the hank
- They can’t be adjusted to your exact liking
- Needs disassembling if you want to store it compactly
Combo Metal Wheel And Wood (Squirrel Cage)
- Works vertically
- Looks like a Ferris wheel
- Simple to manage
- Sits flat on a table
- It’s best to keep assembled. Parts you remove don’t make much difference
Vertical Yarn Swift
- Usually free-standing
- Like an Amish swift design
- It will wind the yarn vertically
- 4 arms and various holes
- Accommodates different hank circumferences.
- Not super popular
- High quality
- Often used by yarn dyers
- Like this one on Etsy, it has a sturdy wooden base
- Yarn winds smoothly as it spins on ball bearings
- The base doesn’t move
If you’re looking for one that works horizontal or vertical, I haven’t found a swift that does that. However, some winders do.
Think about these while you decide which yarn swift is right. Using a yarn swift should make life easy, not harder!
A durable yarn swift is made from durable, strong hardwoods, for example, maple or birch.
Some swifts on the cheaper end are metal and plastic. (Like the Cutehill Umbrella Swift, a plastic yarn swift.)
Some cheap ones with a table clamp leave marks on a wood table. Also, the metal loops might catch the yarn. They’re still a quality swift, and make smooth spins, though!
Wooden ones are more expensive and longer-lasting. Hooray, more yarn winding!
How Much Space Do You Have?
Swifts take up lots of room — Umbrella yarn swifts when expanded.
Horizontal swifts move in a circle. Check there’s a lot of space around it.
The largest umbrella swifts expand to 8.5 feet wide. To stop it from hitting objects or getting stuck, aim for 1.5 feet of space around it.
Most swifts come with a storage bag and have flexible storage options.
If you have limited storage space, don’t stress.
- Why not try a vertical swift?
- On nice days, take your yarn swift outside
A typical umbrella yarn swift works best with squared or rectangular edges, not circular ones. But it depends on the type of swift.
Choosing The Swift Size
The size of the swift you need depends on the hank size you wind.
Take a look at your yarns stash and see what hanks or skeins you use. This helps you choose the best yarn swift.
- Use different yarn sizes and yarn weights? Get a larger model
- Use smaller weights or small size of skeins or hanks? Get a cheaper model with small measurements
If you use wool winders (yarn ball winders), see what the wool winder holds.
It holds anywhere from 4 ounces of yarn to 16 oz (a pound.) If your yarn hank is large and you have a small yarn winder, cut the hank in half. Then, wind the yarn into a ball.
Extra Tips For Choosing Your Yarn Swift
- Check the clamp’s depth and if you have a surface to fit.
- Umbrella Swifts are the easiest to store. Other models, not so much
- Ensure it’s easy to set up
- Read customer reviews
- It needs to be smooth and sanded
- In the end, choose the yarn swift to give you the best value
I hope you find this resource useful. A swift is wonderful. They make a laborious much easier. Leaving time for more crochet!
Want to see what combo works best? See my review of the swift yarn winder.