I love to play with my umbrella swift. It spins around and reminds me of a carousel! I believe the name comes from that fact that it folds up sort of like an umbrella.
If you are spinning yarn, you will inevitably need some sort of system to transfer the yarn from the spinning bobbin to a skein or ball so that you can use it for other crafts.
Serious knitters and crochet artists who purchase luxury yarns that come in skeins also appreciate using a swift to unwind the yarn without tangles.
And besides that, it's just plain fun to spin around and twirl!
Yarn is usually removed from the spinning wheel bobbin or drop spindle and wound onto a niddy noddy. This tool allows it to be formed into a skein, which is usually twisted to wrap it up as a hank so it looks nice. Skeins are good to dye yarn or pre-wash it.
A swift expands to hold an untwisted hank or skein of yarn. From the swift, you can quickly and easily wind yarn onto the bobbins for weaving shuttles or into a ball for knitting, crocheting, or whatever.
Swifts are usually made with a clamp at the bottom so that you can temporarily attach it to a table while you are using it.
They fold up like an umbrella for easy storage. I kept the box mine came in so I put it back inside that and it stores easily with my weaving supplies.
When you do knit or crochet work, it's best to have yarn pulling from the center of a ball so it doesn't roll around.
To use a ball winder, simply lay the yarn in the slit in the center spoke and then start turning the crank.
It's also nice to have a single ply yarn in ball form when you're ready to ply. You can easily double ply from one ball by taking both ends from the center and outside
As a skein or a ball, your handspun yarn looks professionally packaged!