PVC Swift/Skeiner tutorial

Note (Dec 2011) – I’ve been told by many that the cost to build the swift has increased since 2008.  When I built this, I lived in a part of the country with pretty low cost of living, so between that and inflation, the costs are now reportedly much higher.  I’ve heard about $20-25 is average now, depending on the tools you need or have on hand.  YMMV.

UPDATED! 7/6/2009

Many, many, wonderful knitters have told me that there’s a mistake in my tutorial for a while now, but I’ve been so busy with life that I haven’t had a chance to correct it.  It’s a minor one – the swift requires 4 2″ pieces instead of 3 as noted.  Anyway, it’s finally been corrected!

I finally did it! Remember the PVC Swift/SkeinerI talked about around a month ago?


The tutorial (pdf) is done!


  • Acts both as a yarn swift and skeiner
  • Holds up to a 2-yard skein
  • Collapsible so it can be stored flat
  • Has optional yarn guide to make winding on easier
  • Cost roughly ~$10 of supplies from a home improvement store (plus some tools)

OK, so I know that I’ve been super slow about it, but exam procrastination got me so I wrote this up (I would rather do anything but study… as you can see).

I tried to be real thorough about where all the parts go and to give detailed pictures and directions. Please let me know if you use it and find any mistakes or confusions. I would love to improve them. Send me an email at beatawih AT gmail DOT com (replace AT and DOT, obviously).

Also, if you build one of your own, let me know. I would love to see what yours look like!

OK, here comes the PDF of the tutorial. Enjoy!


April 29, 2008. Knitting, Spinning, Tools, Tutorial, Yarn.


  1. Michelle replied:




    • Angela Desjardins replied:


  2. Lisa replied:

    This looks great! Maybe I’ll actually make one, now that someone else has done all of the work for me. Thanks so much.

  3. Dana replied:

    That is so awesome! Thank you for sharing that- I’m out the door to Home Depot now! 🙂

  4. PVC Swift/Skeiner « A Book and Some Yarn replied:

    […] Edited to add: Tutorial now available!  Check it out here. […]

  5. Susan replied:

    I just bought most of the parts for this swift. I couldn’t get the spacer, though. Home Depot didn’t have any! Do you know where I can get a spacer?

  6. Beata replied:

    Susan – I’m not sure! I bought mine at Home Depot in one of the little drawers with individual parts. Did yours not have any? Do you have another hardware store nearby like Lowe’s or Ace Hardware? Other than that, if you have a pipe that is a small diameter, you can cut that into the correct length and use it. The key to the spacer is that it has to be strong to hold the spinning part and the stand apart.

    I hope that helped! Sorry for taking so long to reply!

  7. Charlotte the PVC swift « Handknitsbysusan’s Weblog replied:

    […] Swift/Skeiner Tutorial […]

  8. aimeewrites replied:

    Thank you!!!!


  9. Marie replied:

    That is so cool–I am so making this! I am so amazed by people who can not only “make somethin’ outta nothin’ ” (as my Dad would say) but also teach people like me who need lots of pictures! You rock! Thanks and have a great day!


  10. trtskh replied:

    This is fantastic! I was looking at a little tabletop swift the other day at the yarn store, and that little sucker would’ve set me back $72! Thank you :).

  11. Joanne replied:

    Very nice! Thanks for the tutorial!

  12. I *heart* Charlotte « Handknits by Susan replied:

    […] room. She certainly makes a great conversation piece! The PVC swift tutorial by Beata can be found here. Now back to my […]

  13. Liesl replied:

    I made the PVC swift and I love it. There were a few things in the instructions that I had to adjust to get mine to work correctly. I can’t think of exactly what they were (as it’s been months ago), but one was a pipe length and the other had to do with the way the windmill was constructed. Overall I was happy.

    Also, the blog says she spent about $10. I spent about $37 as I had to buy everything but the drill and drill bits. The pipe cutter cost me about $10 , hardware about $10 and the pvc items were about $16.

    Be careful when buying the caps and joins as you do not want the ones that screw on (plus they are more expensive).

  14. Allison replied:

    Thank you so very much for this tutorial! My husband made it for me a few weeks ago, and I have no idea how I got along without it.

  15. Littlehomesteader replied:

    Brilliant and cheap! I hate how the commercial ones cost so much, and there is v little choice in the UK. Thank you!

  16. Swiftly, Swiftly « beardedknitter replied:

    […] to this post over at A Book And Some Yarn, I was able to find very straightforward instructions on how to […]

  17. Susan Stallard replied:

    Thank you so much!!!

  18. Erica N replied:

    It’s beautiful. Thanks for the instructions. I can’t wait to use mine.

  19. Cheryl Brown (@PBCrochetCol) replied:

    Thank you so much. Stretching $ a lot and this helps with my passion…crocheting.

  20. DIY Yarny Stuff: Swifts « Cast-Offs and Cast Aways replied:

    […] A Book and Some Yarn: PVC Swift Skeiner […]

  21. Gigantor the Skein Winder! | C2 replied:

    […] have to try dyeing some striping yarn. Pretty much followed the wonderful instructions from  https://someyarn.wordpress.com/2008/04/29/pvc-swiftskeiner-tutorial/, I just made it […]

  22. Joy replied:

    Thank you so much for the directions! I made it last night and it worked perfectly. I have to confess I did modify your design a bit by adding a clothesline pulley behind the cross and linking a band around it down to a sewing machine motor. Thank you for the great directions.

  23. Joshua replied:

    Does anyone have a problem where the yarn tightens as you wind it, actually making the PVC arms bend, changing the diameter?

  24. Cindy replied:

    just went and got everything, we already had the pac cutter, but bought everything else. Home Depot, a little over $25

  25. Laura replied:

    Found these instructions yesterday (4/7/14), bought the materials last night at Menards (minus the glues, plus about 5 foot extra pvc pipe since it came in 5 foot lengths) the total cost was only $24.07 including sales tax for state and city! I am so impressed with the instructions …. and the operation of this swift! I may stop winding balls and crochet directly from the swift for large projects!

    THANK YOU for sharing your instructions….your generosity is GREATLY appreciated!!

  26. geroldoesterreichert7 replied:

    Note (Dec 2011) – I’ve been told by many that the cost to build the swift has increased since 2008. When I built this, I lived in a part of the … yawinder.wordpress.com

  27. alexanderbachmeier2 replied:

    Note (Dec 2011) – I’ve been told by many that the cost to build the swift has increased since 2008. When I built this, I lived in a part of the … yaswift.wordpress.com

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