Object of the month: Yarn swift

Monthly Artifacts

Yarn swift

Yarn swifts were once common in many homes. They were used for winding yarn into skeins, and were especially important when yarn was still spun at home. Swifts were even useful when bought yarn became available, since yarn back then was sold as hanks. Lacking a swift, an extra pair of helping hands were useful for holding the yarn while someone else wound it.

Several yarn swifts can be found in the collection of Alta Museum. The displayed umbrella swift is originally a table version of unknown origin, now lacking its locking mechanism and clasp. Also visible in the picture are the rock art mittens, which were the winning design in the museum’s knitting competition in 2018. Pattern and yarn for the mittens are available for sale in the museum shop.

Written by Lena Karlstrøm, curator