The weaver needed both warp yarn and weft yarn. The warp yarn had to be strong enough to stand the tension of the loom for it stretched rom the warp beam at the back of the loom forward to the cloth beam. On this new type of warping mill, or machine, the warp yarn was wound off a rack of bobbins on to the warp frame by employing a pulley.
In the background the boy had hung cutts of yarn on a swift and was busy winding pirns (bobbins of weft to fit into the shuttle) on a pirn winder which bears a superficial resemblance to a spinningwheel.
The loom is a simple treadle loom for weaving plain cloth. The weaver is using the traditional curved shuttle because the flying-shuttle, already in use in cotton and woollen weaving, was not adapted for linen eaving in Ireland until the turn of the century. This delay is surprising because the weaver with the hand-shuttle could not sit while he was weaving but had to crouch over the web so that he could `pitch each shot of weft across the loom'. Yet many experienced weavers were loath to use the flying shuttle.