Monday, June 9, 2008

Thrifty Swift Time

Success!!! The PVC pipe yarn swift is complete! My husband and I had a lot of fun building it, the build went quickly, and it didn’t cut into the pocketbook much. Shopping for materials probably took longer than assembling the swift and the total cost (including sales tax, excluding outrageous transportation cost) was $18.30. I did a digital photo shoot of most of the process and thought I’d post some photos and instructions here for other thrifty knitters to use as a guide.


WARNING! I’ve taken ideas from other do-it-yourself PVC swifters before me - so this not an original design by any means. I do not want to infringe on any copyrights or offend anyone – so just in case, I apologize in advance. Now on with the show.

The Stuff

(1) 10’ stick of ½” PVC pipe ($1.52)
(4) ¾” to ½” PVC reducing tees ($.53/ea.)
(12) ½” PVC end caps ($.29/ea.)
(2) ½” PVC crosses ($1.28/ea)
(1) 4” lazy Susan ball bearing assembly ($3.49)
(4) 11/64”x ¾” thumb bolts ($.45/ea.)
(8) #4 x ¼” steel washers ($.06/ea.)
(8) 5/8” nylon washers - not sure what the inside diameter is ($.15/ea.)
(8) #4 x ¾” metal screws - rounded top with Phillips head ($.06/ea.)
Small amount of contact cement (or you could use PVC glue)
Yard stick or measuring tape
Marker or pencil
Saw (we used a jigsaw – but I imagine you could use about any type of hand saw)
Electric drill and drill bits (we predrilled all holes using a bit one or two sizes smaller than the bolts and screws we were using)
Screw/bit measuring guide (to aid with the step mentioned above)
Phillips head screwdriver

The Steps
  1. Measure and mark your pipe sections. You will have (12) sections, as follows:
    (4) 12” sections
    (4) 11” sections
    (4) 7 ½” sections


  2. Cut your pipe sections and remove any burrs.


  3. Predrill one hole in the center of one side of each tee. You will be inserting the thumb bolts into these holes – so use a bit that is at least one size smaller than the diameter of the bolt. This will give you a snug fit to aid in stability.


  4. Insert the thumb bolts into the tees. Screw in just until you can see the bolt on the inside of the tee. You will be inserting these over the PVC arms and want them to slide on easily.


  5. Assemble the base by inserting the (4) 11” pieces into one of the crosses. Use your glue on the pipe ends and inside of the tees to hold pieces in place.


  6. Center the lazy-Susan over the PVC cross on the base assembly. Using a pencil or marker, mark the hole placements on the bottom plate of the Susan onto the PVC pipe.

  7. Using a drill bit at least one size smaller than the metal screws – predrill the holes you marked for the lazy-Susan.


  8. Place the metal washers on the metal screws.


  9. Center a nylon washer between the hole on the lazy-Susan and the hole on the PVC pipe – screw the metal screw through the hole on top of the Susan and into the hole in the pipe. The nylon washer is sandwiched between the Susan and the pipe – eliminating the gap between the two.


  10. Repeat steps 8 – 9 for the remaining three holes.


  11. Assemble the bottom of the swift by inserting the (4) 12” pieces into the remaining cross. Glue the pieces to the cross but it is important not to glue your pipe ends on yet.


  12. Place the swift bottom assembly on the ground or other flat surface.


  13. Follow steps 6 – 10 to attach the base assembly to the swift bottom assembly.


  14. Assemble the swift posts by inserting the 7 ½” pieces into the ½” opening on the PVC tees.


  15. Slide the post assembly over the bottom assembly arms. If you have already glued the end caps to the arms on the bottom assembly, you will be kicking yourself about now.


  16. Glue the end caps onto exposed pipe openings.


  17. Adjust your posts to your desired skein size. Snug up each post by turning the thumb bolts. Remember – “lefty loosey” and “righty tighty.” Do not tighten thumb bolts to snug - the PVC can be easily stripped by overtightening.


  18. Grab some yarn (or a thrifted sweater to frog) and take her for a spin!



So that’s it. I am really pleased with my swift. I thank my husband for his time and his patience with me. He even let me use his jigsaw! We argued a bit over different opinions when it came to the engineering aspects of the project – but all in all – we had a good time and were both proud of the end product.

I had disassembled the mohair sweater I wanted to frog last night and got it ready to unravel. So as soon as the swift was complete I got to test it out. One note about mohair – small protruding hairs tangle making the sweater unraveling process less than smooth! Oh, but how nice it is to skein-as-you-go in lieu of skeining from a big pile of yarn on the floor!

I did not have time to try the Kool-Aid over-dye. You know, I hope this mohair sweater I’ve been blabbing about is mohair (remember, handknit sweater – no tag) because if it isn’t a protein based fiber…..well I won’t think about that right now - remember, this is an experiment. So next weekend – I’ll try the dye. After the dying I’ll need to wind the yarn into balls and take some nice photos to post on here and Ravelry. Man, it sure would be nice to have a ballwinder and a collapsible PVC lightbox. Hey, honey………….

5 comments:

Llyrmoon said...

Thank you for this! I have been looking for a swift that didn't use a CD as part of the spinning mechanism. I can't believe I didn't thing of using PVC before! It's a lot easier to cut than wood.

Kate said...

Great job! I really love how it turned out!

Kevin Lopez said...

Going to Home Depot.... You saved me time and aggravation... This is amazing...

Unknown said...

Thank you so much!!! My husband finished it late last night. (Thanks, Honey!) Just curious...did anyone have any problems with the bottom/base spinning also? The entire unit turns - help! :)

LaRue said...

My husband and I built one and screwed the bottom of the lazy Susan to an 8 inch square piece of plywood. Works like a charm! Helps a lot because I need to wash the fragrance out before I can work with the yarn.