DIY Yarn Swift


A yarn swift holds skeins of yarn at tension so you can wind the yarn into a ball. A skein, a loose ring of yarn, is one of many ways that yarn is “put up" for sales. Because there is not a standard skein size, a swift must accommodate a range of circumferences. You can buy a swift, and some are very expensive. Or with a few common household items, you can make one.

Things You'll Need

  • 4 x 4 x 4 inch cardboard box
  • 4 plastic hangers
  • 2 9-inch pieces of 1/4-inch wide elastic
  • 12 spring clothes pins
  • 6-inch square piece of gripping shelf liner
  • Lazy susan, about 7 inches across
  • Duct or packing tape, optional
  • Assemble the bottom of the box. Arrange the flaps securely on one end. This option allows you to easily dissemble the swift. For a more permanent solution, tape one end shut.

  • Fold the flaps of the top of the box to the inside to add some stability.

  • Stack the plastic hangers on top of each other. Make sure they are all facing the same direction.

  • Tie one piece of elastic around all the hangers, near the bend in the hook. Tie the other piece around one of the narrow, curved ends of all the hangers. Tie the elastic securely to make sure the hangers don’t come apart.

  • Hold the stack of hangers with the hook pointing down and rotate the untied ends around the hook.

  • Stuff the hooks into the box, making sure that the cross pieces rest in the corners of the box. Add clothes pins on each side of the hangers.

  • Put the gripping shelf liner on the lazy susan, and put the box on top of the shelf liner.

  • Add clothes pins at the end of each hanger to the yarn skein from slipping down.

  • Drape the skein of yarn around the arms to use the swift. Its triangular shape holds skeins of various circumferences. Pull on one end of the yarn and start winding.

Tips & Warnings

  • Use hangers are identical in size and shape. You can cut the gripping shelf liner into any shape. An alternative to the shelf liner is anything that will keep the box from slipping around on the lazy susan, like strips of Velcro.

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  • Photo Credit clothes hangers image by Edward White from
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