Lizards in the Leaves

Rustlings in the green....imagination, art, whimsy

Dec 16, 2009

Contraption: Swift & Ball Winder

As I was winding some lovely hand-dyed cotton the other day, I thought (as I often do) how glad I am to have a swift & ball winder at the ready when I need them.  It wasn't always so...

For years, I worked with a chair back and laboriously wound round balls of yarn by hand.  This was often frustrating and always slow.  I then got a ball winder and that was a huge improvement, especially because I love the resulting center-pull "cake" of yarn that results. Still, it was often frustrating without a swift.  (As for the heartwarming pictures of family members cheerfully willing to hold up  hands wrapped with yarn at just the right tension for winding off....well, let's just say not pictures from my household!)

I then found a cute little Swedish swift for $10 at a thrift shop. More improvement, though I had no permanent set-up for the tools because there just wasn't the space.  And, as often as not, the place I'd set up previously would be cluttered and unusable unless I took the time to declutter, make space. Then I'd still have to set up the swift and ball winder in just the right proximity and angle.  And the swift, cute as it was, was tiny and rickety.

Finally, I bought a nice sturdy big swift and set myself to figuring out how to create a place where it and the ball winder could be permanently set up, where I wouldn't have to do ten other things before I could wind a ball of yarn.

The result of my pondering is this contraption:

It's two plastic file crates, stacked together and upside-down with a modular cube unit tied and bungee-corded to the top.  The footprint is 13" X 16", more of course when you have the swift in operation.

Now I've also made the contraption do double-duty as a place to hang things from (the stocking full of rubber balls is for felting, though my granddaughter just doesn't understand and wistfully pokes at the Sponge Bob ball every time she comes over.)

I'm sure something could be made with all modular cube-type units, but the plastic crates make it very lightweight and easy to move out so there's room for the swift to unfold, then push it back out of the way.

The one-shelf cube is open on front, back and bottom and turned on its side. It's got useful storage space and I am using it for plastic bags.

And there you go.  It's not pretty, (but I'm sure it could be if I wanted to go there) and it's so functional it makes me want to blog about it.


At 12/16/09, 7:13 PM, Blogger Cyn said...

Smarty pants. I tried to roll a ball of chunky Colinette on the way to Albany today and two hours later, I was still trying to disentangle the yarn. Adding insult to injury, I finally finished and cast on my stitches, only to have the yarn break in the first row. Woe is me!

At 12/16/09, 7:47 PM, Blogger Linda Sue said...

clever little you- I am wearing my "hug" since the weather has turned to be freezing- I think of you every moment!

At 12/18/09, 4:08 PM, Blogger Diana Troldahl said...

I have these cool wire drawer units intended for use in a kitchen with a 'cutting board' top that are on wheels. You can use the brakes on the wheels to make them immobile.
I use one as my desk most often as it can be wheeled right up to my chair.
I clamp my swift on one end, which works really well. I don't have a ballwinder yet, but I like the feel of wool in my hands, anyway :-}


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