DIY Yarn Swift!

Today I’ve got another DIY for you – how to make your own yarn swift from things you can pick up at Goodwill!

DIY Yarn Swift with green yarn on it

I’ve needed a swift for a long time, but it never seems to make it to the top of the supply list, so I thought for quite a while about how I could just make one with stuff I had on hand or could pick up used. My first idea was an upside down umbrella, but I couldn’t quite figure out how to make the yarn stay where I wanted. My next thought was an expandable wine rack, which is actually what I went to find at Goodwill, but they didn’t have one, so I ended up with the coat rack instead, and I think it actually worked better. If you’d like to make one, please read on!

To make this project, you will need:

1 Expandable Coat Rack,

4 Large Pegs (I used these Shaker Pegs that we found at Home Depot, but any pegs that are about 3 inches or longer will work)

1 Lazy Susan (Mine is a 15 inch from Ikea. I wouldn’t go any larger than that but smaller would be fine.)

6 screws (The thickness will depend on how thick your shoe rack and Lazy Susan are; you will be screwing two of them into both pieces to hold them together, so you’ll want the screws to be long enough to get through both. Mine were about two inches.)

A drill (While this project could be done with just a screwdriver, it would take a lot of arm power and time. I don’t recommend it!)

I found my pieces in my own hoard of junk, and Goodwill. You could certainly buy each piece new, but I’m not sure it would save you a significant amount. My swift ended up costing about $14, as I already had a Lazy Susan, the drill, and the screws. I bought a coat rack (that was originally $30 at World Market) for $8 at Goodwill, and the pegs were about $6 new at Home Depot.

So, on to making your swift! Start with your coat rack and pegs.

Expandable shoe rack and four wooden pegs (start of DIY yarn swift)

You’re going to be replacing the short peg on each corner with a longer one. Take your drill and make a pilot hole in each peg, like so:

Putting a pilot hole in a wooden peg

Then, take the short pegs off of the corners and replace them with long pegs:

Shoe rack with two pegs replaced with longer ones (part of a DIY yarn swift)

You may be able to reuse the screws that you already took out, but in my case, the short pegs were held on with flat ended screws (rather than the more usual pointed end), so I had to use different ones. Now, see that lone short peg on the very end of the coat rack up there? Go ahead and just turn it around – it might catch the yarn when you’re winding. There’s no need to cut anything or get fancy with it (unless you want to), so just switch the peg to the back. When you’re done, it should look like this on the back:

Back of shoe rack (part of DIY yarn swift)And like this on the front:

Shoe rack with 4 long wooden pegs (part of a DIY yarn swift)

You’re halfway there! Now take your coat rack and center it on top of the Lazy Susan; it doesn’t have to be exact, so I just eyeballed mine, but you could measure if you’d like.

Making a DIY yarn swift with a lazy susan and expandable shoe rack

Then clamp it down so there’s no sliding around while you’re trying to drill.

Making a DIY yarn swift with a lazy susan and expandable shoe rack

Take your drill and put two more pilot holes on the bottom middle rungs, where the pink arrows are pointing in the above picture. You want to put them as far from the very middle as you can, so that you don’t drill into the base. Then drill your screw into each hole; if you find that the pointy end reaches down far enough to touch whatever surface you’ve got your swift on, it’s too long! You want it to go through the coat rack and the Lazy Susan with only a little of the pointy end poking through on the bottom. It should look like this when you’re done:

Making a DIY yarn swift with a lazy susan and expandable shoe rack

And you’re finished! The coat rack part of your swift should still contract in and out, so it should be able to accommodate most skeins of yarn. I tried it out with some Hawthorne Fingering from Knit Picks, and it looked great!

DIY yarn swift made from an expandable shoe rack and a lazy susan

I don’t have a ball winder either, so I use an old medicine bottle, and to show you how to do it, we made a video! It’s my first one, and we accidentally filmed in portrait (not knowing that all editing software turns it into landscape – oops!), but I think it’s got some good info and will teach you how to wind yarn, starting from the very beginning; most of you knitting veterans won’t need it, but I thought it would be a good brush up, or a place to start for newbies!

I hope this helps at least a few of you, and if you end up making one, I’d love to see it on Instagram or Facebook!

Coffee Table Turned Window Seat

When we met, my husband had a coffee table that I disliked basically immediately (he and I have very different taste, which is not a giant problem, unless we’re discussing furniture or decoration for the house).


It was huge, blocky, and dark, but he was attached to it, so it made a couple of moves with us. Eventually it got pretty banged up (I’d like it noted that I had nothing to do with this; I can’t even lift the thing) and I started plotting it’s demise. Or rather, it’s transformation into something better! I turned it into a window seat to go in front of the bay windows in our room:


Now, the idea was originally to turn it into an ottoman. I’m sure we’ve all seen those DIYs on Pinterest, right? Turn your old coffee table into an ottoman, it’s so easy! And maybe it would be, if I actually planned anything :P. Unfortunately, the coffee table was pretty tall to begin with, and was only more so after it was covered. The plan was to saw a few inches off of the legs…but we found out (after covering of course) that there are actually steel bars running through those legs. It made it super stable, but there was no way we could saw through those things. This was right before we moved to our new house (everyone knows that right before you move is the best time to start a project like this), so we weren’t even sure what our space would look like and if it would fit. Once we got all moved in, it worked really well in front of our windows; it kind of pulls things together, gives us extra sitting space, and provides the kitten with a spot to monitor the neighborhood.

Now, I did plan ahead enough to rope my husband into drilling me some holes before covering it, with the idea that the top would be tufted.


In hindsight, I really just could have made a cushion for this thing and it would have been more than fine, but I like to do things the hard way, apparently. So after the holes were drilled, we covered it in three layers of foam and then some batting to make sure it all stayed put.


I’m not going to lie to you, it is not pretty on the inside, but it looked good after we covered it in some navy upholstery fabric (we staple gunned to get all this to stay in place). Luckily for me, I have similar taste regardless of the room I’m decorating, so the blue we picked ended up matching incredibly well with our quilt.

And then, we moved, and…it sat there. I somehow did not get a picture of what it looked like plain, without the tufting, so you’ll just have to trust me when I say that it looked okay. But every time I walked by I thought to myself “I really need to add the buttons to that…”. I finally woke up one morning (7 months after we moved; I really need to get better about that) determined to get it done. I have no idea how people who actually know what they’re doing make tufting on furniture, but my method worked fairly well, I think. I used a darning needle and some leftover yarn, then threaded them through each of the holes we’d pre-drilled.


I threaded each end of the yarn on the underside of the seat through a spare button that was slightly bigger than the hole, and tied it tightly to keep it firm. I could have sewed the top buttons on at this step, but I used ones that I had covered myself (with polka dot fabric left over from making the quilt), and it was just a little easier to glue them down instead. I broke out the hot glue gun and filled the little dent with glue, then stuck a covered button in it.


It took about an hour and a half for the tufting and buttons; my advice if you’re going to try this would be to wear gloves. My fingers got pretty raw from trying to manipulate the darning needle/yarn/fabric.

So there you have it! I think I would approach it differently if I were to do it again, but I’m really happy with the transformation, and even my husband has to admit he likes it :).