I've been knitting for more than a decade but only recently broke down and bought a ball winder and a swift.
I don't know what I was waiting for! Maybe it was just that the thought of spending money to be able to wind balls faster when that money could be spent on more yarn seemed silly.
The ball winder makes these great, neat, center pull cakes that sit relatively flat... no more balls of yarn rolling wild across the living room to be chased by toddlers and cats! It is so much easier than wrapping the skein around my knees and winding the ball by hand, especially since whenever I start winding a ball this way the munchkin will immediately need my attention. I can put this down in the middle of winding without worrying that will end up all over the living room.
It is also really fun to to wind the ball and watch the swift spin. I have to be careful not to get to carried away, or my six year old side goes a little crazy and the skein ends up flying off the swift and I end up with a tangled mess... but that has only happened a couple of times ;)
Here is my swift and winder. This lovely yarn is Mosaic Moon- Moonlit Grove Colorway and will be fall longies for the munchkin. I can't wait to start knitting with it.