This post contains affiliate links. If you buy through a link on this page, I may earn an affiliate commission. Learn More

My Yarn Swift Guide for Crocheting in 2020. All You Need To Know

Yarn swifts are wonderful inventions to hold those pesky hanks of yarn and stop them from getting tangled.

Relax and wind your yarn into usable cakes or balls while your swift keeps the unwound yarn in check.

My Yarn Swift Buying Guide For Crocheters. Everything You Need To Know

Chair backs of your dining room chair, or your willing or impatient family member, friend or partner’s arms, and yarn tangles are a thing of the past.

Paired with a yarn winder, and you have a perfect set up going!

Table Of Contents

Yarn Swift Buying Guide – What Is The Best Yarn Swift?

The swifts I’ve reviewed in my best yarn swift article cover many styles. Hopefully, the reviews of the different types of swifts available on the market will help you decide which are the best yarn swifts for you.

Knit Picks Onyx Swift

Knit Picks Onyx Swift. Image credit: We Crochet

In 2019 the company that owns Knit Picks launched a dedicated crochet site, ‘We Crochet.’ The popular products such as this swift are also available at We Crochet.

The Onyx swift is made from laminated birch wood material. For added durability, the swift features metal hardware.

The metal screws feature a plastic stopper at the end to prevent scratches when clamping the swift onto a table.

Measures approx. 26″ (66cm) in diameter (68″/173cm circumference) and 26″ (66cm) tall when open. Clamp opening fits edges up to 1 1/2″ thick.

Pros

  • Sturdy, lightweight and durable
  • The table clamp has a range of about 1 1/2 inches, so it means you can put it on various flat surfaces, shelves, or even a chair.
  • Made of strong materials.
  • Golden Brass hardware.
  • Hard-wearing screws
  • Very easy to set up and packs down for easy storage.
  • Simple to order online.

Cons

  • You may need to use wood wax or polish to ensure the center sliding mechanism to go up and down easily.

Knit Picks Birch Swift

Image credit We Crochet

The wood is smooth and durable. It is easy to assemble and pack down for storage.

The umbrella swift is simple to use. While the umbrella style arms are closed, clamp the bottom section to a table.

Then move the umbrella clamp up the shaft until it is fully extended, and your yarn fits snugly. Fasten the screw into position on the shaft, and you are good to go.

Measures approx. 26″ (66cm) in diameter (68″/173cm circumference) and 26″ (66cm) tall when open. Clamp opening fits edges up to 1 1/2″ thick.

This original signature swift makes winding yarn fun. It is available to purchase on Crafts Americana Group, Inc.’ newest dedicated crochet site – We Crochet.

Pros

  • The table clamp opens out about 1 1/2 inches.
  • So it means you can choose a variety of edges, shelves, or even a chair.
  • These yarn swifts are made of strong materials.
  • Very easy to set up and packs down for easy storage.

Cons

  • This model may need to use wood wax or polish to ensure the center shaft sliding mechanism to go up and down easily.
  • Some may not like the hemp ties that hold parts of the machine together

For more information on the Umbrella Swifts read my post.

Stanwood Needlecraft Tabletop Amish Style Wooden Swift

Stanwood Needlecraft Tabletop Amish Style Wooden Swift

This wooden tabletop design Amish Style swift has pegs to make it easily adjustable. Within the slim wooden planks of the swift, there are holes where you can choose to position the pegs.

As the name suggests, it’s used on top of a table, or it can go on the floor if you prefer. It’s 28 inches in diameter when two-arm crossbars are set up.

When not in use, it’s easy to disassemble and store. It takes up lots of room.

Pros

  • Easy to assemble.
  • Fine sanded finish, so no heavy wood varnish fumes.
  • Sturdy when on tables as it has 4 non-slip pads on the bottom surface. It can be easily adjusted by moving pegs to hold various sizes of skeins between 2 1/2 – 6 ft in circumference.
  • Smooth spinning.
  • Parts can easily come apart for easy storage.
  • Heirloom quality

Cons

  • You will need to consider the amount of space required.
Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

For more reviews on Amish Swifts take a look at my post.

Stanwood Needlecraft Wooden Umbrella Yarn Swift (Medium)

Stanwood Needlecraft Wooden Umbrella Yarn Swift Medium

A medium-sized solid wooden Umbrella Swift, made of birch wood with a finely sanded finish. One of the best yarn swifts, it’s one of the more popular varieties of swift. Able to handle skeins of 6ft in circumference.

When working, it’s fairly quiet, and the spin is smooth. Popular with crocheters and knitters alike with ease of set up, its durability, and it packs down to pack away.

Like other umbrella swifts, it has hemp cord to keep the ribs together.

Pros

  • The Stanwood Needlecraft Medium size can hold up to 6ft of a wool skein in circumference.
  • Can go on various surfaces, 1 3/4 inch thick such as tables, benches, or chairs.
  • Very sturdy construction made of quality wood.
  • Packs down for easy storage.
  • High quality construction
  • The metal tying wires are hidden in holes so they won’t hurt your hands

Cons

  • On rare occasions, the clamp screw part can sometimes crack, but screw replacements can be purchased.
Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

For more information on Amish vs Umbrella swifts please read my post

Beka Yarn Swift

Beka Yarn Swift

The Beka brand is a tabletop wooden yarn swift with a heavy base. Made of hard maple wood, with metal bearings that make it spin smoothly.

Pros

  • Easy to assemble with clear instructions
  • Smooth edges so the yarn doesn’t snag
  • Rotates smoothly
  • Simple to drape the wool loop over the top
  • Fits all sorts of sizes of yarn loops

Cons

  • Does not fold down for easy storage
  • The wing nut is fragile so treat it with caution
Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

Stanwood Needlecraft Wooden Umbrella Yarn Swift (Large)

Stanwood Needlecraft Wooden Umbrella Yarn Swift (Large)

Made of solid wood and easy to fold away. This wood umbrella yarn swift can handle larger skeins with bigger circumferences. When folded out, it takes up quite a bit of space in the room.

Be sure to think about where you will have yours when in use.

Pros

  • Made of solid quality wood.
  • Can handle skeins with a circumference of 8.5ft.
  • Clamps easily to the edge of a table, bench, or chairs without scratching the surface.
  • Able to easily adjust the clamp screw.
  • Spins with ease.
  • The wood base will go on to edge up to 1 3/4 thick.
  • Solid, sturdy construction
  • Compact when not in use.

Cons

  • Some customers may not like the ties made of hemp, that hold the umbrella ribs section together.
Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon

ChiaoGoo Amish Design Wooden Yarn Swift

ChiaoGoo Amish Design Wooden Yarn Swift

The Chiaogoo Amish Design Wooden Yarn Swift features a smooth finish. It can handle up to 62” skein circumference of a skein of yarn. It has 4 moveable pegs making it adjustable to fit different circumferences of skein loops.

Each of the four wooden crossed sections has 6 holes.

It is 25 inches in diameter when the two crossbars are set up.

Pros

  • Simple to use
  • Sections easy to assemble
  • This swift design can handle varying circumferences of skein loops
  • No clamps – placed flat on a table for stability
  • Smooth finish so no snagging of fibers
  • No toxic varnish fume

Cons

  • To pack away, it must be disassembled, which is easy enough to do.
Click to Learn More / Buy from Amazon
We Crochet Quality Yarns

What is A Yarn Swift?

A yarn swift is a neat tool to hold yarn and prevent it from being tangled while you wind it into a neat, usable ball or cake using a ball winder. Think of it like the back of a chair but much, much better!

An effective tool used in combination with a yarn ball winder, which makes neat yarn cakes, both machines complement each other and make it much easier. Read my review for The Best Yarn Winders.

Sure, getting them wound at the yarn shop is great, and while you get it done for you, many people don’t realize they make a common mistake. If you’re going to use the yarn immediately for a project, excellent choice.

But if you have it wound and in the cupboard in your craft room for a rainy day, beware! If you leave them for a long time, the yarn fibers stretch out, and lose elasticity. It won’t look very good when you’ve crocheted up either.

With a yarn swift, you have control of when you prepare your yarn fibers for crocheting. An excellent advantage is you can wind balls by hand or with a yarn winder whenever you want, and it’s ready to wind when you need it.

You can also take a break, and nothing will have changed when you come back to continue.

How To Set Up A Yarn Swift

Make sure you’ve assembled it according to it to the instructions before setting it up for use.

If you have a Yarn Swift with a mount, it’s very flexible as to where you put it. You could even decide to set it up on your backyard patio if you wish!

If you have one that sits flat, there’s not so much freedom. You need to find a surface with a big enough 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 that sits flat damaging the area, place a cloth underneath.

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, remove the label, and any scrap yarn holding it together and preventing it from getting tangled. Don’t untie the hank, though! Wait until the hank form is placed on the swift.

If you’re using an umbrella swift, put the yarn circle around the yarn swift and open out of the extendable sections. Push the center upwards until it fits snugly around the yarn.

Ensure it isn’t loose; otherwise, the yarn might fall off! Secure the yarn swift with the screw, so it stays in place.

If you’re using a swift that sits flat, place the yarn circumference around the pegs and adjust the width as necessary. Secure them, and you’re ready to go.

Remove the yarn ties from the yarn.

If you’re using a yarn ball winder, hold the end of yarn in your hand from the outside, not the inside. This ensures it doesn’t interrupt the flow of the swift.

Hook it up to the ball winder, and place it on the bobbin. Ensure everything is secure, the yarn in place under tension, and start cranking the handle on the winder.

If you’re using your fingers for winding a ball, start winding, but turn slowly, so it doesn’t get tangled.

Keep going until you’ve created your winded yarn!

Choosing A Yarn Swift

There are several different types of Yarn Swifts. Here is a list of the comparisons, similarities, and differences between these main types.

Umbrella Swift

Umbrella Swifts spin horizontally, it has clamps and is suited for up to large hanks. Stores easily, because it collapses and folds away.

Amish Or Tabletop Horizontal   

This type of yarn swift sits flat on a table and spins horizontally. An Amish style swift can spin most average or medium-sized hanks. To store it, you’ll have to disassemble it if you want it to take up less room.

It’s easy to use.

Combo Umbrella Swift / Tabletop   

This yarn swift winds horizontally and sits flat on a table. Swift holds medium-sized hanks of yarn. Pack it away it in its shape, or take it apart.

Combo Metal Wheel And Wood   

Spins vertically, but it sits flat on a table. Only good for smaller skein lengths and hanks. You have to disassemble it if you want to keep it in a tighter space.

Things To Consider When Choosing Which To Buy

It doesn’t matter if you’re just looking for a simple, budget machine that does the job well or a wonderful, quality swift that will last years. This tool is such fun!

Here are details to consider while you make the buying decision of which yarn swift is right for you.

Which Style Is Right For You?

There are two styles, which are the most popular and common. These yarn swifts are the umbrella swift and Amish, (also known as tabletop because it sits flat on a table.)

Perfect for home use, and they’re a functional piece of craft room furniture. The other styles combine the two, and a combined version with a metal wheel and wooden base.

Here the basic differences, advantages, and disadvantages to each.

Umbrella Swift

The name is pretty self-explanatory. When collapsed, it’s small, push it upwards, so it expands outwards and pull down to close. These swifts have clamps, with screws to grip a surface.

Sometimes, they have the option to add in legs so you can set them on the floor. They collapse easily and are very easy to pack away.

Amish Swift

It’s called a tabletop swift because that is exactly what it is, a swift that sits on top of a surface. A range of sizes to suit any situation or crocheter.

Instead of expandable arms, it has adjustable pegs inserted into the different peg holes on the arms to fit the yarn. It can be packed away in its set up shape or can be disassembled.

This type of yarn swift is made from wood and consists of two long, thin pieces of wood that crisscross in the middle, creating four arms.

A skein winder and its adjust-ability to accommodate different yarns, yarn types and string types is very useful.

On each of these arms is a series of holes into which pegs are inserted. The pegs can be moved to accommodate different hank sizes.

And then the whole thing spins around, allowing you to create yarn balls if you are winding by hand or yarn muffins or yarn cakes, with the help of a yarn ball winder.

Crocheters who’re handy with woodworking could make an Amish swift themselves.

I was watching a video recently of someone who owned an Amish style swift her husband made. He found the instructions online and was able to put the Amish Swift together in a few hours.

We Crochet Tools and Accessories

Combination Umbrella Swift / Tabletop Swift

Simple to set up because it doesn’t have many pieces. This style sits flat on the floor or any area you place it. It uses wood bars placed diagonally to hold the hank, but they can’t be adjusted to your exact liking.

Despite this, it holds a moderate amount of hank sizes options. It needs to be disassembled if you want to store it compactly.

Combined Metal & Wooden Base Swift

Works vertically and looks rather like a Ferris wheel when in motion. Simple to manage with very few parts. It sits flat on a table.

In terms of storage, it’s best to keep assembled, because the very few parts you can take apart don’t make much difference.

Vertical Swift

This type of swift is usually free-standing and similar to an Amish swift design. It has 4 arms and holes where pegs can be inserted to accommodate different hank circumferences.

Not as popular in the crocheting and knitting world as others, but by no means less functional or high quality.

Like this one on Esty, it has a heavy, sturdy wooden base placed on a table or floor. This design has pegs made from aluminum/steel, which are smooth and won’t snag a yarn skein.

It spins freely on ball bearings, so the base doesn’t move when winding yarn off the swift.

Another vertical swift design has a metal wheel and a wooden base. These are great for handling lace weight yarn.

What Material?

In the past, they were made from durable, long-lasting, strong hardwoods, for example, maple or birch. Even today, most of the models are still made from these woods! Particularly the Amish style swift and umbrella swift.

Some swifts are made entirely from wood and nothing else, even the screws or the clamps.

Some swifts on the cheaper end of the price range spectrum are made from metal, plastic, or both.

Generally, wooden ones are more expensive and longer-lasting.

It depends on your preference and which material you choose or the price you are happy with.

How Much Space Do You Have?

Swifts can be quite cumbersome, and they take up a lot of room — Umbrella yarn swifts, especially when fully expanded.

Horizontal swifts move around in a circle, check there’s enough area around it, so it doesn’t knock into obstacles while in motion. Check walls or furniture isn’t going to get in the way!

The largest umbrella swifts expand up to 8.5 feet wide. To stop it hitting objects or get stuck while spinning, aim for about 1.5 feet of space around it to move freely.

If you have limited room, don’t stress. There other options, not just a massive umbrella swift!

If you have one of these, you can put it on its side to create vertical swift. The top of a chair could serve perfectly for this!

On nice days, take your yarn swift and set it up outside. Surely there’s a place in your patio/backyard/front yard you can put it easily!

Important! Remember These Extra Tips When Choosing Your Yarn Swift

  • If you want a product that attaches, check the clamp’s depth, and you have a surface that will fit the clamp! No-one wants to receive their new machine only to have it not fit any of their tables!
  • Consider storage. Umbrella Swifts are the easiest to store, other models, not so much.
  • How Large Are The Yarn Hanks You Need To Wind?
  • The size of the swift you need depends on the hank size you need to wind. Yarn hanks come in different sizes, as nearly every manufacturer, dyer, and supplier choose their own.

How are you supposed to know which one to choose? Take a look at your yarns stash and compare the sizing, make a tally to make it easier.

You should be able to see what kind of hanks or skeins you buy and use. This will help you decide the best yarn swift for you.

If you use different sizes and yarn weights, some large and some small, get a larger model.

If you only use smaller weights or sizes, a cheaper model with smaller measurement options should do!

Even with all this in mind, choose the yarn swift that will give you the best value for your hard-earned money.

IMPORTANT! – If you use wool winders (yarn ball winders) too, take in to account how much the wool winder will hold.

It can hold anywhere from 4 oz to 16 oz, (a whole pound.) If your yarn hank is large and you have a small yarn winder, you’ll need to cut the hank in half and wind it into another cake.

Additional Things To Remember

Ensure it’s easy to set up, read customer reviews to get a sense of their experience and how well the swift works. Learn from other’s mistakes or experiences as well as yours!

You don’t want to spend hours trying to assemble it when there’s yarn to wind and crocheting to be done.

Another thing is it’s best for the swift to be smooth and sanded, so it doesn’t catch or snag the yarn.

I hope you find this resource useful! Yarn swifts are wonderful inventions, perfect for taking a laborious task and makes it so much easier. Leaving much more time for the good stuff, crochet!

About Jodie Morgan

Hi. I’m Jodie Morgan, owner and creator of Crochet Penguin. (Yes, I’m a real person :) )

Thanks for being here. I created Crochet Penguin to help show 1,000,000 people the benefits of crochet & highlight alternatives to fast fashion.

Please say hello!

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.