The swift is mounted on the edge of a table or shelf, and a wooden tension screw holds the swift in place. The yarn is draped around the spokes, then with one hand holding the hank in place, use the other hand to move the bottom of the “umbrella” up until the hank of yarn is stretched on the swift and won’t fall off. Tighten the smaller wooden peg against the side of the swift to keep the umbrella up. Remove any knots or loops of yarn that were put in the hank to make the skein.
Insert one end of the yarn into the guiding eye and slot of your ball winder and turn the handle so that the swift turns as it releases yarn from the hank. You can also use a nøstepinne to wind a center-pull ball from the swift.
When the swift is empty of yarn, release the peg that holds the “umbrella” up, and the swift will collapse for storage.
The “umbrella” part of the swift is 19 inches/48.25 cm long. From tip to tip (not including the tension screw) it measures 28 inches/71 cm long.
Collapsed, the swift measures 10.5 inches/26.7 cm in circumference; at its widest, the swift measures 120 inches/305 cm in circumference.
You can view a short video here about using a ball winder and swift.