Skein winders and swifts are essential tools for a fibre artist. If you have purchased a dyed skein of yarn it is best to make this into a ball prior to use. A swift or umbrella swift is used to transfer the skein of yarn to a ball winder.
A skein winder is prominently used to make skeins of yarn from a large cone of yarn. This is usually done to prepare yarn for hand dyeing.