Of Rats and Jen (Inactive)

Tales of a Perpetual
Work In Progress

Finding Tinkertoys

Filed under: Blogfriends,Crafting Miscellany,Knitting — folkcat at 12:08 pm on Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Welcome to all my new visitors from Craft: Blog! And thank you to everyone for your great comments about my Tinkertoy yarn swift!

Jumbo Tinkertoys.jpgA number of people have asked where you can even get real Tinkertoys any more. Not having children myself, I hadn’t realized that they were so hard to find. My set came from a catalog a few years ago. It was part of their offerings of “retro” toys. From what I can see now, I probably paid more than I had to for it, but that’s okay – it meant they were in the house and available for me to make the swift.

I poked around online a little, and found a decent deal on the Jumbo Classic Tinkertoy set at eToys.com. They’re selling it for $29.99. Their “estimated shipping” is under $7 – that means you could have a set and make your own Tinkertoy swift for under $40, if you have to buy it new. Please note that I have never made a purchase from eToys.com, so I can’t vouch for their customer service or delivery times.

Obviously, this would be a great item to watch for at yard and rummage sales. Since you don’t even need all the parts in the set, it wouldn’t matter if some had been lost. Or pay attention to family members with children who may have a set they’re outgrowing – you might be able to convince them to give it to you!

Edited to Add: Commenter Judy says “I’ve seen the Tinkertoys at Walmart recently.” So I guess they’re out there in some places.

If anyone has other sightings to offer, I’ll be glad to add them to this post.

I think the great thing about the Tinkertoy swift is that it reminds us that there are so often inexpensive, homemade solutions that can substitute for expensive tools. Sure, I want a “real” swift eventually, because it will be built well and made for repeated uses over a long time. In the meantime, however, while I save the money for the “real” swift, my Tinkertoy swift will fill my modest needs.

The success of this project has got me thinking about other tools I might be able to build, too. I own a yarn ball winder, thanks to a very kind and generous blog friend. But I have occasionally thought it might be nice to have a jumbo yarn ball winder, one that can handle a massive skein of yarn without forcing me to divide it into two balls.

So the concept of a homemade ball winder is, as I like to put it, “simmering on the back burner of my mind.” I’m keeping my eyes open for “things that spin,” “things with a crank,” and even just “things that look like part of a yarn winder.” Eventually, I may start sticking parts together to see what I can come up with.

Rest assured – when that happens, you’ll be the first to know!

1 Comment


Comment by Judy

January 31, 2007 @ 2:10 pm

Hi, I’ve seen the Tinkertoys at Walmart recently.

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