This was known in English as waulking, the process of hand-fulling (shrinking and thickening) new-woven cloth for household use.
As these lines show, waulking songs often contained words and syllables with no specific meaning.
Waulking sessions were invariably gender-exclusive, and in this, though inversely, they were similar to shanties.
As with the women's Hebridean work songs, shanties came in different varieties which were used according to the requirements of the work in any particular instance; but unlike the waulking songs, shanties were multi-ethnic in origin, along with the sailors who sang them.
Yet it is clear that both waulking songs and sea shanties served Lloyd's double function of alleviating tedium and lightening the burden of hard toil as well as synchronizing physical action.
This would have been the case also with the island women at the waulkings, especially when the impromptu stanzas mentioned people they knew, or even themselves, though these were not thrown up exclusively by one person, 'a verse being added by one here and there round the waulking board as the spirit moved them'.
(13) See in particular Donald MacCormick, Hebridean Folksongs: A Collection of Waulking Songs (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1969); Hebridean Folksongs, ed.