In the modern day spinners' weasels are even less common than swifts.
One substitute for a swift is to have someone else hold the hank. This has several disadvantages however, first a willing second person has to be found, and secondly unless the other person has had a lot of practice holding hanks, the yarn winds off a swift much better. Yarn tends to catch on the hands and wristwatches of the person holding the hank, and a swift has neither hand nor watch to catch the yarn.
Another common substitute is the back of a chair. The disadvantages of this is that the hank is not kept under tension, and thus the yarn has a tendency to get tangled, and one has to stop very often to untangle it.
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