Throughout the eighteenth century the spinning of yarn was done by women in their cottages. Spinning was done on the Dutch wheel, kept in motion by a treadle. By two separate cords the wheel turned both the bobbin on which the spun yarn collected and the flyer which spins and distributes that yarn along the bobbin. A flax wheel is distinguishable from those used to spin other fibres by its rock or distaff on which the lint hangs for the spinner's convenience.
The bobbins of yarn were then passed to another woman for winding on the clock (or click) reel. One hundred and twenty revolutions of the wheel wound three hundred yards of yarn equal to one cutt; twelve cutts made a hank and four hanks a spangle. These standards were imposed and enforced by the Linen Board. When the hank was wound it was taken off the reel by twisting a movable head on one of the arms. The yarn was then boiled in a pot on the fire and dried. Then it was ready for weaving. Yarn was graded according to the number of hanks that would weigh one pound: sixteen hank yarn, for example, would weigh one sixteenth of a pound or one ounce per hank.