Hi Folks, I'm finally getting to the post I promised the other day.
Lately, I've been doing a lot of fly tying demonstrations and after doing my last one, at Shannon's fly shop, I realized there was a common "thread" to the conversations I was having with people. That the single biggest solution/answer to many of the fly tyers problems is thread control. Yeah, I know, duh! What I am really talking about here is how to increase thread control with one very simple change in how you tie.
With proper thread control, many other tying issues can be overcome, such as material placement/tie down, compensating for poor material quality, big heads, loose wraps that lead to materials creeping around the hook shank and moving out of place, gaps between materials, etc.
So, how do you get the best thread control. Simple, keep the distance between the end of your bobbin and the hook shank as short as possible. Unless I need a long length of thread to dub on, or for forming a loop, or whatever else we do at times, I keep the length of thread I have out to around 1 inch or so, 1 1/2 inches at most.
Keeping your thread short accomplishes a number of things that will help any tyer overcome a multitude of problems and make the process more natural: It reduces the thread angle at the hook allowing the tyer to keep the thread perpendicular, which allows the tyer to keep each wrap more secure and in the exact place they want them; it allows the tyer to maintain a more uniform thread tension; it gives the tyer more control when tying materials onto the hook shank by reducing the amount of thread that must be looped over the material making binding much easier. I could go on, but try it, and you'll see how much it changes the way you tie and how your finished flies look.
Of course, if you already do this, you know what I am talking about.
Good luck and have fun.