Sometimes known as a yarn umbrella, these devices are an essential part of winding yarn into neat balls that are easy to work with. Anyone struggling with knots and tangles in their yarn will want to invest in these products that allow for seamless knitting and crocheting. They are great for getting in the flow without having to stop every minute or so.
To help make this purchase easy, we have created a list of the best yarn swifts. Because they are not all made equal, it can be difficult to find quality without a little help, but every product on the following list is going to make life easier.
- Editor’s Choice
Yarn Swift Yarn Winder Yarn Ball Winder (Amazon) – Review
- Best Amish Style Yarn Swift
Stanwood Needlecraft Tabletop Amish Style Wooden Yarn Swift 2.5-6 feet (Amazon) – Review
- Best Wooden Umbrella
Stanwood Needlecraft Wooden Umbrella Swift – Medium (Amazon) – Review
- Best Finish
Knit Picks Wooden Umbrella Yarn Swift (Onyx) (Amazon) – Review
- Best Decorative
Nagina International Umbrella Table Top Yarn Swift (Amazon) – Review
- Best Affordable
Tebery Umbrella Yarn Swift (Amazon) – Review
Editor’s Choice: Yarn Swift Yarn Winder Yarn Ball Winder
The most popular product in the niche, this is the best yarn swift and as expected, it packs down small and is easy to use. To keep it safe, it comes with a carry case that holds it together. The metal parts are thick and strong to ensure it lasts a long time and its table clamp measures a maximum of 1.75 inches so it is compatible with most tables.
Because the clamp is strong it should be noted that it is a sensible idea to place something between the clamp and table. It is easy to manipulate into different angles and is fine to use on everything from size 10 yarns to the heavier types. It can be set up vertically should this be easier to work with and is easily adjustable to take different sized skeins.
- 1.75-inch wide clamp
- Packs down small
- Includes carry case for storage
- Strong metal parts
- Easy to use
Best Amish Style Yarn Swift: Stanwood Needlecraft Tabletop Amish Style Wooden Yarn Swift 2.5-6 feet
A simple and effective yarn swift made from quality wood, this Amish style product is up there with the best. The finish is particularly smooth so expect the seamless movement of the yarn of this tabletop style offering. It is easy to assemble in just a couple of steps and the solid wood does not have any toxic varnish on it so it is safe to use.
Because of the smoothness, it will never snag so using it is a seamless experience. There are 4 non-stick pads on the bottom to ensure it doesn’t move around when in use and can be used with skeins that have a circumference of up to 2 1/2-6 ft. Yarn winding doesn’t have to be complicated as this simple yarn swift shows.
- Packs down small
- Amish style yarn swift
- Easy to use
- Smooth solid wood
- Some people prefer umbrella style swifts
Best Wooden Umbrella: Stanwood Needlecraft Wooden Umbrella Swift – Medium
Another credible product from Stanwood, this time it is their umbrella yarn swift. The quality of the wood is evident once again and the finely brushed birch looks great and has a smooth feel to it to ensure the yarn does not snag. Its medium size makes it an excellent option for a variety of projects and the smoothness of the spin makes spinning yarns seem easy.
A 6′ circumference skein can be held in this umbrella swift and the clamp on the base feels sturdy when secured to a table that is up to 1 3/4 inch thick. The wood has been specially selected so there are no blemishes, making it less susceptible to breaking.
- Quality brushed birch
- Fits on a table up to 1 3/4 inches thick
- Easy to set up
- Does not snag
- Takes a little getting used to
Best Finish: Knit Picks Wooden Umbrella Yarn Swift (Onyx)
The dark design certainly makes this yarn swift a standout product, but it is just as functional as it is eye-catching. Its metal hardware makes it one of the strongest products on the list and folds down easily for convenient storage. It clamps onto a table that is up to 1.5 inches thick and when open, the umbrella can accommodate most skein sicknesses.
The black satin finish on the wood looks great so anyone looking for a modern style of yarn swift will likely find this a suitable option. It can turn in either direction, with many people commenting on how sturdy it feels. Anyone looking to use it in unison with a winder will find that it does not slow the process down and helps wind those yarns without any issues.
- Looks great
- Smooth motion
- Clamps onto a table up to 1.5 inches thick
- Folds down for easy storage
- On the pricey side
Best Decorative : Nagina International Umbrella Table Top Yarn Swift
In terms of appearances, this yarn swift is about as good as it gets. The pretty design makes it look decorative when not in use, and there this is not whilst compromising on any of the important features. Made from 100% natural solid maple, it has a quality feel and a good weight to it. The rotation is easy and smooth, winding yarn into a ball quickly without squeaking.
The wood has been sanded smooth and there are no harmful chemicals used so it is safe for the family. It comes with a money-back guarantee but it seems unlikely that it will be needed since the quality wood is imported from Germany.
- Made from 100% natural solid maple
- Smooth feel and motion
- No harmful chemicals used
- Looks great
- Other products are more stable
Best Affordable: Tebery Umbrella Yarn Swift
A bargain price means this is a good option for anyone on a budget although it may not have the same build quality as the other options on our list. Still, it is deemed as a reliable yarn swift by many and the simplicity makes it easy to use. There are no wooden parts but set up is easy and it is lighter than the others, folding up to a compact size.
It can clamp onto chairs, tables, benches, and anywhere else that is stable and can fit into the clamp. We like that it doesn’t squeak when turning and with next to no friction. Anyone getting started in crochet and knitting can find this is a good option and won’t break the bank.
- Good value
- Easy to use
- Folds down small
- Doesn’t squeak
- Not as durable as other products
Yarn Swift Buyer’s Guide
Winding a yarn manually is a time consuming and thankless task, so it is great that there are options to make the process simpler. Not only does a yarn swift make life easier when looking to wind those yarns into neat balls, but most of the time they are affordable and easy to use.
This isn’t always the case so it is important to know what to expect from a quality brand. This is why we have created the following buyer’s guide. By the end of it, you’ll know how to pick a yarn swift worth using out of the crowded market.
What To Look For In a Yarn Swift
All the moving parts that the yarn passes through must be smooth or the swift is going to snag and slow the process down. For seamless motion, a well sanded, potentially varnished wood or other material is vital. The better the quality of the wood, the more pleasant the user’s experience is going to be.
This is why a lot of brands use brushed birch or solid natural maple and finish it to a high standard.
The dimension so the clamp is important as anyone with a thick table is going to find it difficult to accommodate a clamp. Not every design uses this to secure the yarn swift but if you do, be sure to measure the table before buying.
This is useful on standalone products that do not use a clamp, otherwise, the swift can fall over or move around to the point where the yarn starts to catch or snag. It is difficult to work with a moving swift so be sure to counter this with a secure base.
Even a frequent knitter is going to want to put the yarn swift away from time to time. When this is the case, a swift that folds down small is a great option. Because of their umbrella design, a lot of them fold down easily for storage. Even the Amish designs should come apart easily and pack down small. Some will even come with a case to put the swift in so it doesn’t get damaged.
Being able to accommodate a large amount of yarn is important and most brands ensure their products can hold a full yarn of a heavy weight. This is always going to differ slightly so be sure to check the specifics of the brand you are considering before buying.
A squeaking yarn swivel is going to become annoying pretty fast and can happen with any type of material. Look for brands that are known for quiet, squeak-free motion so you are not left with a product you can’t bear to use.
What Does A Yarn Swift Do?
Not only do they help the user to knit faster, but a yarn swift will keep skeins and hanks in place whilst they are wound into neat balls. These are easier to work with and ensure smooth knitting and crochet without the risk of snagging undoing knots, and being slowed down.
Although the spinning process is similar, different designs can be purchased. Each one is effective and sometimes it is a matter of personal preference as to which a knitter will decide to go with.
Is A Yarn Swift Worth It?
Although some people are fine with working with a skein that has been pre-wound for them, these lose their elasticity over time so unless they are used soon after being wound, they can be difficult to work with. Knitting directly from a hank is always tricky. Using this approach will always result in tangles which slow the process down, and can be frustrating.
A little set up using a yarn swift can take away a lot of the pain. For continual, non-stop knitting, a yarn swift is an excellent idea.
Different Types of Yarn Swift
The two most common are the umbrella style and the Amish style.
Much like the name suggests, the arms of these types open up and will often be secured by a clamp to attach to a tabletop. These typically offer the broadest range of yarn sizes that it can work with and fold down small so pack away easily.
These do not require a clamp to keep them in place, instead, they use sucker pads or non-slip material under the legs. Sometimes known as a tabletop swift, they work horizontally and use pegs that fit into different slots to change the sizing. They are easy to store and have a wide range of sizes that they are compatible with.
These are a mix of the previous two types and although they are not so easily adjusted, they do offer the ability to work with different sizes of yarn.
What Is The Best Type Of Yarn Swift?
We find the umbrella yarn swifts to be easier but that is because it is what we are used to. Anyone who prefers to work with their yarn horizontally will find the Amish yarn swifts better. They are both winners that will make life a lot easier for any knitter.
What Is The Best Material?
We like the feel of wood as when it has been sanded to a high standard, it offers smooth movement without snagging. It also looks better and more natural but these do tend to be the more expensive options. There are still many sub-par wooden products so it is best to be diligent and do some research before purchasing.
How Much Does A Yarn Swift Cost?
The good news is that they are inexpensive considering the amount of convenience they offer. Most brands make their products within the $50 range. An elite yarn swift that is made from a higher spec of wood may cost a little more. To balance this, some decent budget options can be found for under $20.
These may not have the same quality feel but can still do a good job of helping to move the yarn into a ball so it is convenient to use.