Re: Beginner Fly Tying Assistance, Please
Craft stores can be a great source of material-- 2 mm foam for example, but the catch for a new tyer is that until you have some experience tying and get a sense of some of the properties of different materials it could be frustrating to try and tie stuff with material that might look similar, but behave differently when you try and work with it. One big potential source of difficulty and frustration is struggling with materials that are not suitable for the pattern you're tying---- though they may be fine for something else.
For someone just starting out, i think it would be best to buy stuff you need for a couple patterns at a time
1. in person at a local fly shop if possible, so you can see and touch stuff and ask questions. Or barring that
2. from an online fly shop (as opposed to a big box store) with an 800 number and experienced folks that tie so you can ask questions about material
As far as wrapping stuff like chenille or peacock herl, I usually wrap the same direction as i wrap the thread--- away from me up and over. If I'm using a rib ( Woolly bugger, Pheasant tail Nymph, Hare's Ear Nymph, Elk Hair Caddis) I counterwrap it-- going away from me under the shank, and back to me over the shank. This helps to lock stuff in place as opposed to slipping in between wraps of body material.
Whip Finishing, I also use 2 whips, four turns each. On small flies you can just brush a little head cement onto the thread before you whip it instead of tying the knots and then applying the head cement. It helps to keep things neat instead of getting clogged heads or ending up with glued dubbing.
As far as dubbing goes, there are a bunch of different ways to do it. But the simplest is to just apply it to the tying thread. A couple of things that might help:
1. Use way, way less than you think you'll need--- just try and color the thread with wisps of dubbing, not clumps-- you don't want to end up with a thick rope of dubbing. (There are other techniques for that you can use down the road if you need them.)
2. Twist it on in one direction, counterclockwise between your thumb and index finger
3. As you wind the thread with dubbing to make the body, if you need to make a tapered body or build up some bulk, make several passes with the thread and dubbing instead of using thicker clumps of dubbing at least for now.
4. If you're dubbing dry flies, particularly small ones, a fine fibered synthetic like Superfine or Fly Rite is easier to work with than coarser dubbings like rabbit etc.