The umbrella swift earns the “Cool Tool” award! I have sixteen skeins of 20/2 Mora wool (as seen in Skeins of Colors). Before making them into little butterflies of color for a woven transparency, I am winding the skeins into balls. This means I get to use one of my favorite tools–the umbrella swift. My Glimåkra swift is simple to use and gives flawless results every time.
How to Use an Umbrella Swift
- Attach the clamp of the umbrella swift to the side of the loom, or other secure structure, like a table. The swift functions vertically or horizontally. I prefer to position the swift horizontally so the yarn rolls off vertically. Also, I find it easier to hang the yarn on a horizontal swift than to place the yarn on a vertical swift, holding the yarn while expanding the umbrella.
- Position the yarn ball winder so that it is in line with the umbrella swift, a short distance away. I clamp the yarn ball winder to my loom bench, and sit on a small stool behind the bench.
- Remove the yarn skein’s label and put it aside. Carefully unfold and untwist the skein of yarn and open it out to a big circle. Place both arms through the center of the circle of yarn and snap your arms outward. Repeat the snapping action one or two more times, with the yarn repositioned about a quarter turn each time. This helps straighten out the yarn for placing it on the swift.
- Lower the “umbrella” of the swift by loosing the screw and pulling the bottom screw-piece toward the clamp. Place the opened and prepared skein of yarn around the swift.
- Push open the “umbrella.” Spread it open just far enough to hold the yarn taut. Tighten the screw to keep the swift in that position.
- Find the place(s) on the skein where the skein has been tied, and untie the knot(s). Identify the end of the yarn that is on the outer side of the skein and connect that end to the yarn ball winder. For consistency among multiple skeins of yarn, I have the umbrella swift turn in the same direction for each one, with the yarn unwinding from the top of the swift.
- Turn the yarn ball winder until all the yarn has been unwound from the swift.
- Remove the yarn ball from the yarn ball winder and wrap the skein’s label on the new yarn ball.
- Collect the new balls of yarn and play with the colors in your imagination.
May you take pleasure in your work of preparation.
All the best,