For some time now, I’ve been wanting a swift. After doing a bunch of research into my available options, I came across several ingenious solutions people had developed to make their own. As you may or may not have gathered by now, I’m a pretty DIY kind of gal. *halos*

The K’nex one someone did was awesome, and the Lego ballwinder was fantastic, too. Some of the other designs were admirable, but the one that really caught my attention was Jen’s Tinkerswift. Made entirely from Tinker Toys, I thought it really made the most sense of all. Sure, I could have got some supplies from the hardware store and built my own out of plywood and dowelling, but I’d have been terrified that I hadn’t sanded something-or-other down enough, and that I’d soon be finding out exactly how inept my DIY hardware ski110rz were when some lovely bit of yarn ended up ruined by my hands.

Something made for children, though, seemed ideal. Janni-proof, even. And absolutely nerdtastic! Obviously, it was made for me. Off to eBay I went.


I came away with a set of Fiddlestix instead. After bidding on several Tinker Toys sets and educating myself in the process, I found out the provenance of more than a few Tinker-knock-offs…including Fiddlestix. The genius thing about Fiddlestix, though, is how bulky and beefy they are—not to mention the fact that they were still made of nice wood into the ’90s. What’s even better is the shapes of some of the joint pieces in their sets—balls and squares instead of just wheels. The balls are my favorite, because they rotate cleanly and quietly on the rods. Quit laughing, you.

They arrived quicker than expected due to an absolutely wonderful eBay seller, for whom I of course left glowing feedback. I got them shortly before leaving for work, and I fully intended to play with them when I got home later that evening. I didn’t intend to do a swift—yet. I just wanted to play.

The swift, however, had ideas of its own. It came together almost of its own accord, in a matter of a few minutes. I sat on the floor in our living room spinning it and marveling and laughing at how easy it had been.

Of course, the real test would be in actually using it. Sure, it seemed utterly solid and well-balanced as I sat spinning it and grinning my fool head off, but how would it work with a skein of yarn?

As it happened, it worked beautifully. I used one of my many extra Fiddlestix rods (a green one, if you must know) as a nostepinne, and away I went. First ball was Dream in Color Starry in Lipstick Lava, which is 450 yards of fingering weight super-soft woolen wonderment. In the photos below, you’ll see more Dream in Color Starry, this time in Nightwatch.

Joe had a brilliant idea to mount a rod in the chock of one of his drills to create a super-fast ballwinder, which I may try at some point in the future…but for now, this is so delightful. No more tangles and sadness, and in only 15-20 minutes, I’ve got a lovely center-pull ball of yarn. It’s infinitely customizable to suit any size of skein I may have in the future, and I can easily put it away and even travel with it when I’m done. Fiddlestix are ultra-portable.

This is seriously brilliant, and all it cost me was $7.99 + shipping. 😀 Here are photos and a video (please excuse the questionable photo quality, as I’m relearning a camera I haven’t used in a long time). Click through the photos for larger versions.