DIY Yarn Swift and Ball Winder

Have you been scavenging lately? I can't seem to stay out of thrift stores looking for my next score. :)

I found a bag of discontinued yarn at Goodwill for $4, still skeined. The cheapest swift and winder I could find online was $60— a no-go for me. Buying secondhand yarn would be even more expensive than buying it new, where you can get your cakes wound for free at the yarn store.

So I decided I’d try to make a swift and winder. I got all of the materials at my local Goodwill for less than $10 and it took me less than 5 mins to set up. You will need:

  • One lazy susan (mine was $3.99)
  • One wine rack or dish rack (the kind that collapses ~ $4.99)
  • A large turkey baster, ring sizer, or even a curling iron top without the cord would work ($0.69)
  • Duct tape

Put your yarn skein around the wine rack. Duct tape the wine rack to the lazy susan while holding it taut against the yarn skein. Make sure the tape is placed in opposite directions, at least 4 pieces, or it will collapse inward. The weight of the rack will keep it from falling over.

Then hold your turkey baster in your left hand and wrap the yarn around with your right, first perpendicular until you’ve got a good two layers of wraps, then at a 45° angle, with the wraps 1/4” apart, slowing twisting the baster with your left hand. I used this tutorial to learn how to use the turkey baster as a nostepinne, the old-fashioned winder.

15 minutes later and I had wound my first cake!

6 responses
Thanks I was pineing for a ball winder and swift. I have not been able to afford them. You figured out away. thanks Rosa
Brilliant. No power tools required. Well done.
DUCT TAPE TO THE RESCUE!! :D brilliant. thanks for this!
I inherited an old wine rack and wondered what to do with it. Now I know! Thank you!
You could also use empty toilet paper rolls to do this. Then you have the roll in the center and if you have a free standing toilet paper holder just bring it in the living room or where ever you love to crochet, and put the roll of yarn on it. Will not run away on you and will turn easily.
What do I do when I want to wind another hank of yarn of a different size? Remove the duck tape? Or, will it still move while duck taped?