It occurred to me that it's basically a lazy susan with adjustable pegs. Well, heck. The swift was beautifully crafted wood. But not a terribly complicated deisgn. So today I bought a lazy susan. Took it home and placed four canned food cans on it. Adjusted for circumference of hank/loop of yarn I needed to wind. Worked fabulously! The yarn started slipping upwards at one point, threatening to come up off the cans. If this becomes a problem, I can put a small cookie sheet on top, and put another can on top of that to weight it down.
18" lazy susan, $7.50 (after family/employee discount at Storables - was orignally $13)
4 cans of food, approximately 79 cents each (already on hand)
handmade wooden swift bought at yarn shop ~ $54.95 (and up to $150, depending on the model)
solving the problem with low-tech ingenuity: savings of $44 and up.
Why yes, I'm rather pleased with myself. :)
I do think that, if I simply cannot resist an automatic winder, I will treat myself to an actual ball winder and not use a mixer, no matter how tempting it sounds.