When I first started knitting as a hobby/compulsion, I was unemployed and needed a cheap pastime.  As time passed, my taste in yarn has become more and more expensive and now includes a lot of luxury yarn. Hand-dyed yarn, in particular, tends to come in skeins rather than balls and needs to be wound before use. I have a ball-winder but prefer to wind balls by hand (centre-pull balls tend to collapse on me).  But a swift is an indispensable tool.

This post by Peggy Osterkamp has good detailed advice on how to use swifts, but one simple tip that  always makes it easier is ‘snapping’ the skein. To snap, uncoil the skein. It should now look like a circle of yarn (held together by yarn or string ties). Take one end of the circle in each hand, making sure that none of the yarn has fallen to the other side of the circle (if that make sense). Firmly snap the circle a couple of times. Now put it on your swift! It will wind much more smoothly.

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