I'm watching you. Yes, you.

When one decides that an object or piece of equipment that is desirable for a task or hobby is just far too expensive to purchase from a merchant, one has a few options. They can forgo the purchase, & muddle through their task or hobby without it, or they can resort to more constructive means, and create the object or equipment themselves. This is the road seemingly less traveled, and the road I took this weekend.

I started learning to knit at the beginning of March this year. It turned out that I enjoy knitting quite a lot, and managed to finish an 8 foot long scarf after a month and a half of work. Since then, I’ve begun “stashing” – storing yarn of various color & texture for projects that I have in mind, and started several shawls and a knit bag. In the short months I’ve been learning this craft, I’ve purchased an electric yarn winder, which will turn loosely wound balls or skeins into tighter center-pulled balls I can stack & store without them rolling around like mad.

The winder itself is a great tool, but I found that often I will get almost to the end of a skein, and manage to get the last few yards into a tangled mess. To solve this problem, most knitters use a yarn swift to hold the skien and wind it with their winder. Imagine a merry-go-round for a loop of yarn. The problem is that most yarn swifts are upwards of sixty to seventy dollars, plus shipping. I have yet to find a craft store that sells the yarn swifts in any shape. My solution – I’ll make it my damn self.

So, making a list and checking it twice, I made my way to the Home Depot. While being asked at almost every aisle “Do you need help?” or “Can I help you find anything?”, I managed to find everything I needed. I’ll put a list of everything I got at the end, just so you don’t have to wade through it here. The construction was fairly simple, and it was my first time using a hand saw at all and a power drill for something more than putting a screw into the wall. The main construction took only an hour or so, and I got my boyfriend to be my extra set of hands while I was sawing and using the drill.

The finishing touches I completed today, which included putting little plastic feet on the base, to lift it up high enough so the bolt under the base doesn’t make the whole thing rock, sanding it all down, and fitting more pegs for the swift arms. I have 8 total, so I have extras if they get lost or broken.

The first test run I recorded video of, and it can be found on my Facebook page or YouTube. I had to stop recording after a bit, because it turns out I had one of the arms on wrong, and it snapped a bit. Okay, so it snapped completely. But I fixed it!! I pumped that break full of super glue and stuck that bad boy back together again!! So it’s fine now.

The thing is, I’m not sure I’m going to need all the length the arms of the swift have. But I’m going to leave it as it is now, to see if I ever use the pegs further out from the center, and if I don’t, I’ll hack the ends off and drill a few more holes further in on the arms. I do think I will keep the base the size it is, because I feel that the base should be larger than the arms are.

I’m really proud of my project. If anyone wants the instructions for how to make their own swift, I can write that in a separate post.

Anyway, here’s my list of what I used for the swift:

  • 7 foot length of 2×1″, cut into 2 3-foot lengths & 2 1/2-foot lengths
  • 2 lengths of 3/4″ square wood that were 3-foot each
  • 3 washers, 5/16″
  • a wing nut, 5/16″
  • a bolt, 5 inches long, 5/16″
  • a dowel rod, 5/16″ cut into 8 6-inch pieces
  • 4 little plastic nail-in chair feet
  • a metal bolt spacer, I’ve forgotten what it’s called
  • 4 small nails
  • a 5/16″ drill bit
  • a hand saw & miter box kit
  • a rasp/file
  • a couple of sanding blocks

Comments on: "Trials & Tribulations of Self-Construction" (1)

  1. Pretty cool that you even attempted this, let alone built one that works so well! I give you props for self-confidence as well as craftsmanship. Don’t think I would have been gutsy enough to try it.

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