DIY Yarn Swift: How to Make Your Own Yarn Swift

DIY Yarn Swift: How to Make Your Own Yarn Swift by Dances With YarnDIY Yarn Swift: How to Make Your Own Yarn Swift by Dances with Yarn

A yarn swift is a rotating device that is used in the process of winding yarn. The hank is placed on the yarn swift, and it then rotates as the yarn is being pulled off and wound on the ball winder. There are some pretty creative ways to make your own yarn swift (I found a blog that used a water bottle and hangers… Pretty thrifty!), but I wanted to create one that was similar structure to my niddy noddy and matched its style. Thus, I found a blog on making a PVC pipe yarn swift. Yes, back to the good ole PVC again. Anyway, with consulting another blog and my fiance’s craftsmanship, we created our own, adjustable yarn swift!

NOTE: My yarn swift was created following the instructions from another blogger’s, with a few modifications. The original design can be found here: http://miscknits.blogspot.com/2008/06/thrifty-swift-time.html

Supplies
(2) ½ inch x 5ft. PVC Pipe + left over PVC from Niddy Noddy
(2) ½ inch Cross (slip) Fitting
(4) ¾ inch x ½ inch Tee (slip) Fitting
(4) ½ inch x ½ inch Tee (slip) Fitting
(16) ½ inch Slip Cap
(1) 6 inch Lazy Susan {A 4 inch one would work just fine, but our hardware store did not have one in stock}
(4) ¼ inch x ¾ inch Bolt {Flat-head Bolts would work best, but our hardware store did not have any in stock}
(1 / 20ct) 4/3 inch x 4 inch Philips Wood Screws {You only need 8 screws, so if you can get a smaller pack that is cheaper, go for it!}
(2 / 4ct) ¼ inch Nylon Flat Washer {These are not entirely necessary…}

Additional Suggested Supplies
Sawzall or Pipe Cutter
Sand Paper or PVC Cleaner
Plastic Spray Paint {I am waiting until it gets warmer before I do this!}
Small Pebbles/Rocks {This is what I used to weight down the base}

Instructions
Step #1. Measure and cut out PVC pipe

  • (4) 12 inch pieces
  • (4) 11 inch pieces
  • (4) 7 ½ inch pieces à This will need to be cut down further in later steps
  • (4) 3 ½ inch pieces

Step #2. Start putting the base together – slide the 12 inch pieces into one of the cross fittings

DIY Yarn Swift: How to Make Your Own Yarn Swift by Dances With Yarn

Step #3. Center the lazy susan on the base and pre-mark where to drill the holes for the screws. Drill the holes.
***Note: When selecting a drill bit for the holes, make sure it is one size smaller than the screws***

DIY Yarn Swift: How to Make Your Own Yarn Swift by Dances with Yarn

Step #4. Place 4 nylon flat washers between the base and the lazy susan. Screw the lazy susan to the base.

Step #5. Start putting the spinning part of this tool together – slide the 11 inch pieces into the other cross fitting.

DIY Yarn Swift: How to Make Your Own Yarn Swift by Dances with Yarn

Step #6. Flip the base upside down and position lazy susan so you can access the holes that have not been screwed down yet. Again, center the lazy susan and pre-mark where to drill the holes for the screws. Drill the holes. Remember to use a drill bit that is one size smaller than the screws.

DIY Yarn Swift: How to Make Your Own Yarn Swift by Dances with Yarn

Step #7. Place the remaining 4 nylon flat washers between the spinning part of the tool and the lazy susan. Screw the lazy susan to this piece.

Step #8. Gather your 7 ½ inch pieces, your tee fittings, and your bolts.

Step #9. Drill a hole in all the ¾ inch x ½ inch tee fittings.
***Note: When selecting a drill bit, make sure it is one size smaller than the bolt***

Step #10. Slip one of the ends of the 7 ½ inch piece into the ½ inch part of the tee fitting. Do this for all pieces.

DIY Yarn Swift: How to Make Your Own Yarn Swift by Dances with Yarn

Step #11. Cut the 7 ½ inch pieces two thirds up the piece.

DIY Yarn Swift: How to Make Your Own Yarn Swift by Dances with Yarn

Step #12. Insert the ½ inch x ½ inch tee fitting between the cuts (make sure to do this to all of them). You will then insert the 3 ½ inch PVC piece into the final open portion of the tee fitting. This makes your “ledge” for the yarn to rest on.

DIY Yarn Swift: How to Make Your Own Yarn Swift by Dances with Yarn

Step #13. Slide the ¾ inch portion of the tee fittings onto the spinning portion of the swift. Screw the bolts into the drilled hole to secure in place. To adjust the side of your swift to match the hank, you can loosen these screws and move the arm piece.

Step #14. Add slip caps to all of the open, PVC pieces of the spinning component (not the base caps yet).

Step #15. For weight and to ensure the base does not spin when the swift spins, I added small pebbles to the inside of the base PVC pieces. If you wish, add your small pebbles or rocks to the base. When you fill one piece, add a slip cap to make sure the rocks don’t fall out.
TIP: I shook/pounded on the PVC to make sure the rocks were tightly packed, so I could add more weight to each piece.
DIY Yarn Swift: How to Make Your Own Yarn Swift by Dances with Yarn

DIY Yarn Swift: How to Make Your Own Yarn Swift by Dances With Yarn Additional Instructions
Removing PVC Pipe Lettering – PVC cleaner or sand paper to remove lettering from the pipe
Painting Your Yarn Swift – Lightly sand each of the PVC pieces. Select a plastic spray paint. Take your pieces out to a spray paint friendly area, and spray paint your swift. You may need to spray paint two coats to fully cover the whole tool. Wait for the paint to dry. You might choose to add a clear coat for extra shine. Make sure it is a plastic clear spray paint. Make sure you are cautious of the lazy susan – that you do not spay pain the beads that allow it to rotate. If the paint dries, it might dry it in the position that it is in and not allow it to rotate freely anymore. You may wish to disassemble your swift before painting it to avoid this problem.

Let’s break down our cost…
Total Cost for Me: $25.65
(2) ½ inch x 5ft. PVC Pipe [$1.25 x 2 = $2.50] + left over PVC from Niddy Noddy
(2) ½ inch Cross (slip) Fitting [$1.26 x 2 = $2.52]
(4) ¾ inch x ½ inch Tee (slip) Fitting [$0.66 x 4 = $2.64]
(4) ½ inch x ½ inch Tee (slip) Fitting [$0.66 x 4 = $2.64]
(16) ½ inch Slip Cap [$0.38 x 16 = $6.08]
(1) 6 inch Lazy Susan [$6.97]
(4) ¼ inch x ¾ inch Bolt [$0.05 x 4 = $0.20]
(1 / 20ct) 4/3 inch x 4 inch Philips Wood Screws [$0.98]
(2 / 4ct) ¼ inch Nylon Flat Washer [$0.56 x 2 = $1.12]
Typical Yarn Swift Cost: $30-$120 on Etsy (Avg. ~$40) excluding shipping
Savings: $4.35-$94.35
***Note: To actually calculate total savings, we would need to factor in other costs including labor and time spent working on this project. However, I do not consider time and labor as costs, because it is a hobby that I enjoy***

Tips for My Readers

  • The tee fittings tend to hit the base as the swift is spinning. It is not that annoying, but it can be loud. I minimized the noise and hitting by making sure the tee fittings do not hit the slip caps when spinning. Also, modifying the lazy susan or making an alternative rotating device might prevent this.
  • It is not necessary to create two different sized PVC pieces for the base versus the spinner. However, having a wider base makes the swift more stable and lessens the chance of the tee fittings hitting the slip caps. I wish I would have made the longer pieces the base, but I did not think it through at the time I was making mine based on the instructions I found.
  • If you have a way to make this and put it in a permanent location, I recommend fastening the base to a surface to ensure it does not move or rotate as the swift is rotating.

Have you created your own yarn swift before? If so, how? Share in the comments below!

One thought on “DIY Yarn Swift: How to Make Your Own Yarn Swift

  1. klndle

    My first yarn swift cost me $7 to make, and because I dye yarn, I soon found the need for a second swift, which cost me $17 because I had used up extra wood in my garage for my first swift.

    Reply

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