How to Build an Umbrella Yarn Swift

Written by meredith burgio
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How to Build an Umbrella Yarn Swift
A yarn swift helps you wind balls easier than doing it by hand. (YARN BALLS image by brelsbil from

A yarn swift holds the yarn to help you wind the yarn into a ball. The yarn swift frees your and your husband's hands from holding yarn as you make a ball. Many stores sell yarn swifts and they can cost upwards of £32. Instead of spending tons of money on a yarn swift you can make your own for a fraction of the cost. This yarn swift will only take you a few hours to do and then you're ready to wind your yarn.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Tape measure
  • Chisel
  • Rasp tool
  • Pencil
  • 1-1/2 inch nails
  • Nail set
  • Hammer
  • Wood glue
  • Hand saw
  • Cordless drill
  • Drill bits
  • 5/16-inch spade bit
  • Sandpaper (80, 100 and 220 grit)
  • 6-inch long 1x1 piece of poplar
  • 6-inch long 2x1 piece of poplar
  • 5-inch long 3/8-inch hex bolt
  • 5/16-inch diameter dowel rod
  • 2 3/8-inch washers
  • 3/8-inch wing nut

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  1. 1

    Take your hand saw and cut these pieces from the wood you purchased from the hardware store: two 30-inch long pieces from the 1 by 1 piece of poplar, two 16-inch long pieces from the 2 by 1 piece of poplar and two 3-inch long blocks from the 2 by 1 piece of poplar.

  2. 2

    Find the centre length wise of the 30-inch pieces with your tape measure and mark that point with your pencil. From the centre, measure 1/2-inch to either side and mark those points. Measure 1-inch deep on both sides from the centre and mark those points. Using your handsaw, cut out slivers of wood in this section that you have marked. This will eliminate some of the work in the next step.

  3. 3

    Take your hammer and chisel and chisel out this centre section that is 1-inch wide and 1/2-inch deep in both pieces.

  4. 4

    Crisscross the two 30-inch pieces so that they form an X. Make sure that these pieces fit into the notches that you cut in step 3. They should be flush and fitted. This will be called your "X" piece.

  5. 5

    Take your X piece and find the centre with your tape measure and mark it. With the 3/8-inch drill bit drill a hole into the centre of the X piece slowly. Make sure you are drilling straight as you drill the holes.

  6. 6

    Grab one of you 16-inch pieces and the two 3-inch blocks from step 1. Nail the blocks underneath the 16-inch piece so they act as feet for this piece. Use the nail set to sink the nail below the wood.

  7. 7

    Measure the centre of the 16-inch piece from step 6 and use the 3/8-inch drill bit to drill a hole in the centre.

  8. 8

    Take the second 16-inch piece and mark the centre on the underside of the wood. Drill in with the 5/16-inch spade bit just enough that the head of the bolt fits inside. Once you have done this, use the 3/8-inch drill bit to drill completely through the wood.

  9. 9

    Take your pencil and mark on each end of the X piece where you want your dowel pieces to go. You will need about four to six holes on each arm of the X. However, you can adjust this to whatever works best for your needs. With the 3/8-inch drill bit drill holes where you marked. Do not go completely through the wood, but just enough to insert the dowel pieces.

  10. 10

    Cut your dowel rods about 6 inches long. You can make them longer if you would like. Use the wood glue to secure the dowels into the holes.

  11. 11

    Grab both of the 16-inch pieces. Place the one from Step 6 on your work surface. The feet should be facing down to support it. Slide the second 16-inch piece underneath so that the holes line up.

  12. 12

    Take one of the washers and bolt. Slide the washers onto the bold and send it through the holes of the 16-inch pieces. The bolt should be facing upwards.

  13. 13

    Slide the second washer onto the bolt. Place the X piece onto the bolt as well. The dowel pieces must face up. Secure in place with the wing nut.

  14. 14

    Finish by sandpapering any rough edges smooth.

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