| The swift was used to wind yarn. Although the clock reel is often erroneously called a yarn winder, whereas it was actually a yarn measurer, the swift actually was utilized in winding yarn.
Yarn, that had been spun on a spinning wheel, would be wound around the swift's vertical posts. The posts would be inserted in the various holes of the cross-arms to accomodate large or small skeins. When the intended amount of yarn would be wound around the swift, the entire cross-arm and post assembly would be lifted up and off of the central support post. The entire assembly with yarn wound around it would be taken to the weaver.