I am in the midst of working on a wholesale order and prepping for a local fiber show this weekend. So my swift and I have been spending a lot of quality time together. (WHEN is my electric skein winder going to get here?)
So I've had ample time to reflect on what features my ideal swift would have:
1) A flexible yet durable method of allowing the swift to adjust to different sizes. With my wooden umbrella swift, the slats are attached to one another with little strings. The slats get tangled together and won’t always open, so I have to shake or pull them apart. And the strings seem to break a lot. It’s on long-term loan from a friend, so I don’t really know how old it is or how much abuse the strings have taken over the years. Maybe these are just OEM strings, in which case I can forgive them.
2) Ball bearings or some other rotational mechanism that would get rid of the wood-on-wood squeaking. I HATE IT. I do a fair amount of winding at midnight or later, and I'm always half-expecting the squeaking to wake up my three-year-old.
3) A deeper and wider table clamp, so I'd be able to attach it to my coffee table and watch a movie while I'm winding. Right now I'm limited to using the swift at my kitchen table. I did discover that I could clamp it to my kitchen counter and watch YouTube videos and other clips on the computer. But my TV screen is a lot bigger than my monitor, and is easier on the eyes.
4) A guide that keeps the loose end of the skein from flapping around. It sometimes/often gets wound up in the rotating part of the swift, causing it to abruptly stop. It’s just an annoyance with heavier yarns, but it breaks sock yarns.
5) Pre-marked circumferences on the central shaft. I.e., put the revolving part at this line, and you’ve got a 2-yard skein; put it at this line and it’s a 2.5-yard skein. If this were my swift, I would just use a marker to indicate the various circumferences. I use masking tape because it's not, but that gets bunched up and eventually wears off.
6) A steadier way to keep the swift at a certain circumference. With this swift, the circumference gradually decreases because the part that rotates around the central shaft doesn’t stay tight. On occasion, it has loosened to the point where the yarn falls off into an untidy heap.
And while we're at it, my fantasy swift would also end world hunger and bring peace and goodwill to all. Hey, it's my fantasy, I get to assign super powers as I like.