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Waulking the cloth




People "waulked" the cloth they had woven. This meant that they stood at a ridged frame and pulled or stretched the tartan into shape, across this frame.

During the waulking process, they sang Gaelic songs and recited poetry to keep themselves amused.

Here is a typical waulking song which has been translated from the Gaelic language. It can be found in the book "Carmina Gadelica".

The wool is carded, washed and dyed
The ember heat and reeking peat
Pervade and cense the house inside
Wall shadows in the gloom.

The threads of yellow, blue and green,
The black, the red, the white,
By fingers deft in warp and weft,
A criss-cross sett is laid between
To form the cloth aright.

The fulling at the waulking frame,
The maidens all a-row,
On either side sit well supplied,
With love-songs ready to exclaim,
In movement to and fro.