Sunday, May 18, 2008

Tilta Swift

I can't imagine a swift that is cheaper or faster to make, than the Tilta Swift. You can stuff the components in your knitting bag, and set up your swift in about 2 minutes. You won't even need any glue for this design.

The Tilta Swift works for skein sizes up to about 80”.

I bought my gripper pad, clothespins, and heavy-duty plastic hangers at the dollar store, and the 4-inch-square box from The UPS Store. Ace Hardware has the Rubbermaid Lazy Susan for $7, or you can get a beautiful bamboo Lazy Susan for $10 at Target. If you have to buy everything, it's about $13 plus tax. (I already had the Lazy Susan, hangers, elastic, clothespins, and gripper pad, so I actually spent less than $1.50, just for the mailing box.)

4 heavy duty plastic hangers, $2
1 gripper pad, $1 for four (you only need 1)
1 Lazy Susan, $7
4"x4"x4" mailing box from USPS or UPS store, about $1.25; this is the specialized equipment.
1/2 yard 1/4" elastic, cut into two 9" pieces, less than $1
12 spring-loaded clothespins, less than $1

tilta swift P5180029tilta swift P5180055

Step 1: Use the elastic to tie the hangers tightly together in 2 spots.

tilta swift P5180036
tilta swift P5180037tilta swift P5180038

Step 2: Fold the box. Do the “flap-1 over flap-2”, “flap-2 over flap-3”, “flap-3 over flap-4”, “flap-4 over flap-1” thing for the bottom of the box. Fold the top 4 flaps into the box. Notice how sturdy this turns out, and at the same time notice how nicely this will fold back down when you need to put it back into your knitting bag.

tilta swift P5180032tilta swift P5180034

Step 3: Fan out the hangers, and stuff the tied hanger necks into the box.

tilta swift P5180039tilta swift P5180040
tilta swift P5180041tilta swift P5180042

Step 4: Put 2 clothespins at each box corner. This stabilizes the clothes hangers.

Step 5: Hang 4 clothespins at the end of the 4 hangers. This keeps the yarn from slipping off the clothes hangers.

Step 6: Stack the hanger assembly on the gripper pad on the Lazy Susan. (The gripper pad and gravity keep the hanger assembly in place.)

tilta swift P5180057tilta swift P5180058

The first picture shows a 60” skein
tilta swift P5180052

The second picture shows a 46” skein.
tilta swift P5180051

Overachievers Step 7 (Optional): I dunno, maybe hang micro sock monkeys from it. I leave this entirely up to inspiration. (Am I the only one whom this reminds of a carnival ride?)
tilta swift P5180053

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ml925 said...

Fantastic! I was close to getting a swift, but had a hard time justifying the cost - this looks like a great solution. Thank you~!

Jen Hintz said...

Absolute genius!

twistedtexan said...

Very clever!

erica said...

how terrific is this! can't wait to make one- setting up my swift is a pain....

Ophelia Ballycastle said...

YES! Awsome! You are brilliant! My feet and arms get so tired winding balls! all I need is the lazy susan! Now just design me a 5 dollar ball winder ;)

beedle said...

Hey, Webecca! Do ya know that your invention "Tilt-a-Swift" is being discussed/referred to on the Knitter's Review Forum? Incredible! My motto, "Necessity is the Mother of Invention" really applies here! A little reminiscence from my late teens: Several of my friends and I used to go to San Francisco's Chinatown for dinner now and then. We'd then walk over to the little park nearby (Washington Park, I think it was called). One piece of playground equipment was a large steel disk that had been divided into 4ths (or 6ths?) with steel pipes for the children to hang onto. Ennyway, my friends would apply one principal of physics to keep the merry-go-round spinning: centrifugal force. We'd get right up to the center post, and then on the count of one-two, 3-4, 1,2,3,4 ad infinitum, take one big step back, and then immediately 3-4 forward into the center again. Oh! Did we get that thing spinning! You would take your life into your hands to try to jump off of it! Now, to the point of this little essay: Got any white rats or hamsters you might be able to get that merry-go-round (Sorry! "Swift"!) spinning?

Anonymous said...

Nice! That's the coolest thing I've seen in yonks. :) Thanks for sharing it!


Scarlet said...

What a fab idea! A great money and space saver. Only thing is we dont have UPS boxes in this country(UK) so i am now searching for an alternative. I will not be detered from my quest!

Heather said...

You rock! What a great idea! I swear that if the advancement of civilization was up to me we'd be lucky to be living in caves, at this point!

My hubby and kids are thanking you, too! (For some strange reason, no one in my home enjoys holding the arms out while I wind the skeins into a ball!?)

Cynde said...

This is fantastic! Good job!

Knitter Kris said...

What a great idea... I may need to make this for myself. Thanks for sharing this.

Anonymous said...

Thank you, you're a genius! And I love the bears going for a carnival ride. Sandra Singh

Kay aka dkswife said...

Both the swifts are a great idea! This is dkswife from the Rav Blog Train!

Ilix said...

A resounding WOWEEE!!!
Thanks for sharing! your pics are great!

beccab said...

What a great project. I used a freezer container for the box. It was just the right size. I wanted a swift, but space is limited. This folds up so nicely and every part can serve another purpose when not being used to wind yarn.

iKniter said...

Thank you thank you thank you! I can now buy my yarn in hank form with confidence! Before I hated yarn that came in hanks because I didn't want to shell the coinage for a swift, but this is fabulous! Hanks all the way, and yay for winding with confidence!

KelleBelle said...

Dude this is awesome! It's even easier and cheaper than the Tinkertoy swift! I'm making one today, I have a metric butt-ton of yarn to wind to finish Christmas presents!

Jacqueline Korteland Boller said...

LOL...if ever I buy a skein that needs winding when I don't have my swift, I'll have to try this!! Genius!!

Leigh said...

Very clever!

Amy said...

I finally got the rest of the parts that I didn't have to make one tonight - I would recommend getting more than just the cheap Rubbermaid lazy susan (doesn't turn very well), and I also had issues with the yarn sliding up and over the top of the hangers instead of making it turn - this was easily solved by putting an extra clothespin just above the skein (so there is one above and one below). Worked like a charm! I weighted mine with a bag of sand over the hangers as well. :) Thanks for this idea!!

My Best Friend Calls Me Martha said...

ok, even more stinking awesome!!!

Minaco said...

Great idea!

Irene said...

Ingenious! Nothing less! Thanks for sharing!

Tina - omme i London aka teeweewonders said...

LOL - that's amazing. I particularly like step 7 for the over achievers. :) said...

I adore this idea. Today I went to the hardware store and got the part you can make your own lazy susan. I'm gonna use that and it cost me only 3.99!!! I will let you know how it all works:) Thanks for this wonderful idea!!! Huggs Marion

2BSewing: said...

After much research, I stumbled upon your post. Thank you for the detailed post and the wonderful pictures. I have made my own and love how it turned out. I found a bamboo Lazy Susan at Walmart for $7. Now, I'm waiting for my ball winder to arrive to give it a test spin. Thank you again...Susan

Anonymous said...

Dag nab it! Why didn't I come across this blog post a month ago, before I bought that $52 swift I found on Amazon!

Angela said...

Absolute fantastic. Thanks!!!

Serendipity said...

You just made my day! I mainly work with spinning fiber & don't need a swift often enough to justify purchasing one, just often enough that I wish I had one! And I have absolutely no room for one. You have solved all my swift-related problems! =D

terryd said...

i got 30 hangers for $4, clothespins for a $1, cut open a rubber band (aka gum band) and used a ponytail thingamabob. Got 2 poly basket thingies at Dollar tree, 2/$1, 4x4x3. just need the lazy susan thing, mine is too rigid for swiftness.

thanks for sharing!

Angelika said...

I love this idea. My son made one for me once from Knex. It worked out ok, but had to be broken down again afterwards for him to play again.

projektleiterin said...

You're the knitterly version of MacGyver. :D

Tamara said...

Wow, I'm late to the game but this is awesome!! Who would have thought?

Stormie said...

Ok, I know you have something great here because I have read the posts But, what is a Yarn Swift and what is it used for? I have never heard of this before.

Thanks, Stormie

Yarner said...

Did anybody ever tell Stormy what a swift is for? I'd think the pictures would be self explanatory...

Amy said...

Saw this on the Crochet section of Craft Gossip and just made one of my own. I ended up using a big ceramic coffee mug instead of the box, and needed to add clothespins above the yarn to keep it from slipping up over the top. IT WORKS BRILLIANTLY! Thank you so much for sharing your genius. Off to wind a whole bunch of yarn!

P.S. here's mine

Jennie said...

THANK YOU for sharing your idea; you just saved me a bunch of money!

Lee Ann said...

My husband made one of your swifts for me for Christmas. I just tried it out with a skein of Cascade Heritage sock yarn, and it works great! Thanks so much for your clever, inexpensive swift design.

KnittingGeek said...

This is awesome!
I cut the top off of a square kleenex box, but I think the coffee mug idea is even better
$3 for Clothespins + 6 hangers from the dollar store (they came in bundles of 3)
$7 at Michaels for a trim n turn cake table (full price is $14. I used a 50% off coupon available online)
$2 for a gripper at Bed Bath & Beyond
$1.25 for a 6x6x6 box at staples
I connected the hangers with a rubberband at the tops and a plastic cable tie on the side.

Not having tangled yarn--Priceless!

CraftyCarole said...

I have a swift but sometimes I rather not use it in a place that I have to clamp things on....

amelia said...

This is amazing !!! My husband made it in minutes using a large coffee tin instead of the box!

It works amazingly well! You should market it!!

automotive hand tools said...


this blog is very nice. I have a little girl and I love the tutorial that shows ... I will follow directions and show you

Tia K. Sanders

Annalea said...

This is DA BOMB. I've got to put one together and then stop by a friends' shop who makes drop-dead gorgeous hardwood umbrella swifts and show him and his wife. Hopefully he'll laugh his head off. :o) But I'll be taking it back home with me to use, because my little table-top swift only takes smallish skeins!

Thanks so much!

Annalea said...

So what gave you the idea for this swift? I'm really curious how these disparate parts came together . . . what was your inspiration?

Anonymous said...

THANK YOU! All I spent was the time it took putting it together and now I take it everywhere I go, even the hospital emergency waiting room recently.

Sara said...

I just got a yarn winder and was pouting about not being able to afford a swift... THIS IS PERFECT. I'm so excited to obtain my materials and get started!

melx5 said...

Your swift works great for me! I usually knit and wind yarn in my recliner so I put the swift where my feet go. If I get it moving too fast the yarn has a tendency to skip up over the top, so I put the clothespins just above my yarn to keep it in place. I also have a few small cast garden stones in the box part for a bit of weight. Makes it heavy to lift, but keeps the assembly in the middle of the lazy susan (inherited = free). Bought the box, a 6" cube, from Staples... was a few $, don't remember exactly now. Everything else I had on hand :D thanks!

Anonymous said...

How very clever! I've been watching eBay, ArtFire, and Etsy for a swift. I already have most of what's required for this one. Just need a lazy Susan and clothespins. :)


Claire S. said...

Wow ! I just made mine, minus a few pieces and it wound a hand of KnitPicks Gloss in no time.

No UPS box, gripper pad or lazy susan - I found a rubbermaid container about the right size, weighted the container and just manually unwound a round at a time. It worked fine. 6 more hanks to go.

Thanks !

Brittany said...

Okay so I made one of these and it only cost me $3. Two 3 packs of hangers and the nonslip pad. It is brilliant. I've been lamenting over not being able to spend $70 for a yarn swift and this one works perfect. I substituted a plastic container for the box and was winding in no time. It also breaks down easy to store in my stash box so I have it for later. Thanks for the great idea!!

Melissa said...

This is amazing! So creative! :)
I usually wrap my yarn around my kids play chairs. This will be Sooooo much easier. I think I have everything to put this together. Can't wait to get started with it.

Kari said...

I am so impressed...I had been looking for a swift and I too was not able to justify the cost. Looked for swift kits and was just about to give up when I saw your blog....A BIG thank you. The only thing that I might add is to make sure the hangers are smooth, mine was a little rough and caught my lace yarn. But otherwise I have NO complaints at all. I am sure my husband is very happy, because he does not have to make one for me at MY specification......Again a great BIG thanks ....

Jeanne said...

This is amazing! Thank you so much for sharing your idea! I will definitely be building one of these, in the very near future. :)

patsuweb said...

Just what I needed since I just got my first sock yarn hank & it works perfectly. I used an old rubbermaid square container instead of the box, which I used double-stick tape to attach to my old lazy susan and notched the corners to hold the hangers in place and then used a tennis ball in the center of the hangers to help weight down and steady the hangers more. Also, found that I only needed the 4 small plastic clothes clips above the yarn. It's funny looking but was so easy to put together and works great...thank you! I like it so much that I wonder if I could take a picture and link it to this site for my blog?

Anonymous said...

I need a swift and this looks like one I can afford. Thank you for sharing. You have a God given talent!

free dating said...

This is amazing !!! My wife made it in minutes using a large coffee tin instead of the box!

Rigid Heddle Weaving said...

Thank you for posting this. I bought a lazy susan at the thrift store for 1.50. I'll be using a plastic Folger's coffee can and cutting 4 notches in it for the hangers to fit into and then weight the bottom with either a coffee cup or a small sack of rice. I made my own ball winder. Rigid Heddle Weaving

D said...

Just want to say that this worked beautifully for me! Thank you!!

iPhone App Developer said...

Oh! Did we get that thing spinning! You would take your life into your hands to try to jump off of it! Now, to the point of this little essay: Got any white rats or hamsters you might be able to get that merry-go-round (Sorry! "Swift"!) spinning?

iPhone Application Developer said...

My hubby and kids are thanking you, too! (For some strange reason, no one in my home enjoys holding the arms out while I wind the skeins into a ball!?)

Anonymous said...

Great idea! I didn't have a lazy susan or any grippers, but I used the same coathanger & clothespins concept with one of those spindles from a pack of recordable CDs. A few CDs left on the post makes it spin nicely, just have to cut a hole in the bottom of the box and arrange the hooks around it. The bottom of the case grips the carpet well, too.

poker said...

Thanks! You are absolute genius.

y8 said...

Great idea! I didn't have a lazy susan or any grippers, but I used the same coathanger & clothespins concept with one of those spindles from a pack of recordable CDs. A few CDs left on the post makes it spin nicely, just have to cut a hole in the bottom of the box and arrange the hooks around it. The bottom of the case grips the carpet well, too.

Anonymous said...

This is CRAZY brilliant! I looked at a gazillion swifts both readymade and homemade, and this one is what it should be.....simple in concept and materials readily available, but most of seems to work! Lots of great reviews! I too, was on the verge of plunking down the cash for a readymade one, but yours saved my cash! And even better, easy to pack!!!!

Anonymous said...

Over 50 years ago (yes, 50) I was in the San Fransisco Bay Area with a couple of girlfriends. We went over the Golden Gate Bridge to Sausalito to what was then a "Shopping Center" -- lots of small shops in an old building. My friend got all excited to show me something she couldn't identify in one of the stores and was sure I wouldn't know either. I was the one to get excited!! It was a SWIFT!! I had been looking for one. Don't remember what it cost, but I bought it on the spot! (In those days, it may have been $3!!) Over the years, it has disappeared and reappeared numerous times.
Sometimes it just isn't handy to use (clamp wrong size, etc) I am going to make one of these!! Love it!

Anonymous said...

Thanks :). I borrowed the hanger setup and combined it with a spinning utensil holder. It looks great.

kknola said...

Many thanks for your post, this will save me some serious cash. I really appreciate the clear instructions and photo. Hope you don't mind but I had to share this treasure, linked to your blog on mine today.

Linda's Brain-Tchotchkes said...

Okay - I'm definitely gonna have to give this a try....If only to shut up my troop of SockMonkeys that want to use it as an amusement ride!
(and, yeah, I'll use it for yarn, too!)

eStitched at eStitches said...

I have been using your design for my swift for the past year or so, and I love it. The ease of use and storing is terrific. Your swift gets a mention on KnittingParadise every few weeks. It's pretty cool!

Thanks so much for posting its details.

CindyLu said...

This is GENIUS!!! I just wound two skeins in a matter of 10-15 minutes. No more hauling the kitchen chair over to the couch and no more tangles that take me all night to unravel. You're the BEST!!!!

Carol Harting said...

This was so cleaver. I had everything but the box so it cost me less than $2. I already had the lazy susan and it had a rubber top. I just take off the spices that are in my cupboard when I need to use it. I put the skein on and then I move the clothes pins to sit on top of the skein so it doesn't slip up when I am winding.

Phaedra said...

Thank you! For $15.22 I have a swift; it works great!

Rummy said...

This is amazing! Thank you so much for sharing your idea! I will definitely be building one of these, in the very near future. :)

Play Poker said...

Wow, This is amazing! So creative! :)

Maureen Mitchell said...

Talk about late to the party! Tried this today and it worked so well. Thanks!!!

Anonymous said...

I just made this today with things I had around the house. Did not have to spend a penny! So happy to save money and have something that works and is easy to assemble, disassemble and store. Thanks.

Adam said...

That is absolutely brilliant! I have thought about buying a swift for a while now, but never wanted to spend the money. And, thanks to your super-creative invention, I won't have to! Thank you so much!

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