For people who knit a lot (a lot, a lot!) a ball winder and an umbrella swift become something of a necessity. Sure, lots of nice(r) yarn stores will wind your hanks for you, but it's easier to wind your own in the comfort of your own home. Especially, say, if you buy enough yarn to make yourself a sweater.
When you buy some yarns, they look like this:
You can't knit with that. You will end up with yarn that looks like it was mangled with a weedwhacker. You will also take your patience to the brink of insanity. (I'm guessing that's not how it's supposed to go, right?) You have to turn it into a yarn cake. So several years ago, I received an umbrella swift and ball winder as a gift. And all was good! Until the screw that bolts the swift to a table became stripped, and I couldn't get the umbrella part to stay open so that I could wind the yarn. There's been a lot of jury-rigging of the thing, and (I'm not going to lie) some not-so-gentle cursing.
Here is where Hubby and I differ: I looks at a pile of junk down in the basement and I see a broken kid's chair, an old Swiffer-type mop (it WISHES it was a Swiffer) two useless fake Christmas trees with broken lights and some wire hangers.
Brian looks at this pile and sees the makings of a new umbrella swift.
He spent part of Sunday down in the basement, piecing it together in his workshop. Sean came to me and said that his bedroom was dark and he heard "scary noises" in there last night. Turned out it was Brian putting the finishing touches on the thing and Sean was hearing him through a heating vent by his bedroom Brian then asked for a hank of yarn to test out his handiwork. I gave him one of the skeins that I bought for the sweater that I am going to (EVENTUALLY!) make for him. So he knows that he must tread carefully. :)
And guess what? The thingamajig works! It's not the prettiest thing in the world, but it is a functioning swift. It can either sit on top of a table or work as a floor model. AND! it folds flat so it may be easier to put away.
I am seriously impressed! This man never ceases to amaze me.
Next time: let's see what he can do with an old drop-side crib that we are no longer using. Challenge accepted?