Carrie Stevens, the hard way (long winded)

ted patlen
Posts: 2008
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2009 10:03 am

Re: Carrie Stevens, the hard way (long winded)

Post by ted patlen »

chris and i watched leslie hilyard unwind one of her streamers. a few of the techniques we witnessed ...

many 1/2 hitches
all turns of thread (i think) tinsel and floss etc. was counter clockwise. so she was right handed but tied as a lefty...this is a common practice in great britain.
this fly was an all tinsel body and the tinsel was wound well up to the head area. all the goat hair , throat etc was tied over the tinsel.
the tying silk was much heavier than 5-6/0 except for the head.

don't forget that she glued the wing segments together...glued is a poor word because she used lacquer...which is very fast drying.

why did she do these? only speculation. but she found that these methods fast and efficient in manufacturing a very sturdy well design streamer.

there were also quite a few #10 and #12 (3-4 x long) casting streamers about..and a few of them were tyed on sneck bends! further proof of her commercial mind set...

it has be reported that carrie really preferred the allcocks long shanks and almost all the flies tied made today are 1/0 -2 salmon trolling streamers....BUT, there are only 3 or 4 of them at the museum 90% of her flies are 1 1/2 - 2" long.

as for the many un-identified patterns....................put yourself in her spot...if all you did was tye gray ghosts and blue devils wouldn't you experiment also? lets say she just tyed a few dozen gray ghosts for frequent customer, maybe she threw in a couple of experiments and said...try these out and tell me about them, or these are a few extras to play with...

bear i really appreciate someone who does their homework before starting a big venture s you did

bearbutt
Posts: 533
Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2013 8:36 pm

Re: Carrie Stevens, the hard way (long winded)

Post by bearbutt »

Ed & Tim--thanks for good words. And Tim--that's a fine idea to flatten the wing stems before glueing them up. What are you using for your 'glue'. I used Griff's thick--just the right consistency--but it took a full bottle to do 100 flies. My wife said to me: "that's a lot of crap to be breathing in"--. It has to be thick enough so it doesn't saturate the hackle--you want it to stay where you put it--so it's an ongoing task to find the right stuff. As Ted said, Carrie apparently used lacquer for this purpose--but it's not clear just how thick it was.

ted patlen wrote:chris and i watched leslie hilyard unwind one of her streamers. a few of the techniques we witnessed ...

this fly was an all tinsel body and the tinsel was wound well up to the head area. all the goat hair , throat etc was tied over the tinsel.
the tying silk was much heavier than 5-6/0 except for the head.

don't forget that she glued the wing segments together...glued is a poor word because she used lacquer...which is very fast drying.
Ted--what was the pattern that was taken apart? That's an interesting observation about the tinsel being wound to the head--a surprise for me. I think we are seeing more and more acknowledgement of her use of goat hair--which is really great stuff, just hard to find the right goat--lol.

The half hitches are also not a surprise--I can't remember where I read it, maybe in the Hilyard article in the AMFF Bulletin, that she tied in each stem of peacock herl separately--moma mia, can you imagine? But it DOES make a difference with the final fly. No wonder Folkins said he couldn't make any money tying the flies as Stevens did.

bb

SgtMajUSMC
Posts: 667
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2011 10:25 pm

Re: Carrie Stevens, the hard way (long winded)

Post by SgtMajUSMC »

BB,

I usually use thickened Sally Hansen's that can no longer be used to finish heads.

I tie a lot of Deceiver-style streamers for trout, such as the late Jack Gartside's Soft Hackle Deceiver and Pheasant and Furnace. Between flattening the stems and gluing them up prior to tying up a few, it really helps to save time. As you mentioned, I can size them to the hooks I'm using, rather than try to tie to a specific hook size.

Using that technique to prepare the hackle, I can also tie the tailwings flared away from each other, or cupped, to give different effects while fishing.

I've also flattened the stems when tying standard featherwing streamers, too. I'm sure I saw someone do it at a tying demo or show, or at least read about it, but I can't remember where.

Tim

tie2fish
Posts: 620
Joined: Mon Dec 23, 2013 4:39 pm
Location: Harford County, Maryland

Re: Carrie Stevens, the hard way (long winded)

Post by tie2fish »

I use Rumph's "Flex Cement" to glue my wing components together; as a rubber-based cement, it does not penetrate as much as Griff's "Thick", and is less susceptible to breaking apart when it dries. Also, I'm saving my remaining Griff's for jobs that require less of it, as finding either of the Griff's head cement products is difficult since they stopped making it due to EPA regs.

ted patlen
Posts: 2008
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2009 10:03 am

Re: Carrie Stevens, the hard way (long winded)

Post by ted patlen »

The fly was the judge

bearbutt
Posts: 533
Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2013 8:36 pm

Re: Carrie Stevens, the hard way (long winded)

Post by bearbutt »

tie2fish wrote:I use Rumph's "Flex Cement" to glue my wing components together; as a rubber-based cement, it does not penetrate as much as Griff's "Thick", and is less susceptible to breaking apart when it dries. Also, I'm saving my remaining Griff's for jobs that require less of it, as finding either of the Griff's head cement products is difficult since they stopped making it due to EPA regs.
yeah--I guess my wife had a point about the Griff's--the good head cements have a way of being bad for us--I think Veniard's Cellire, which I love to use on my heads, is the next one to be banned, if it isn't already--it's got Toulene in it. I need to stock up. Meanwhile, I'll try Rumpf's Flex Cement for glueing up my wingsets--thanks for the tip!

And Ted--'The Judge' is a really nice fly--what did they do with all the parts when they were done picking it apart? I hope they left them at the museum as a display--I'll be up there in Late September.

Many thanks,
bb


bearbutt
Posts: 533
Joined: Mon Feb 11, 2013 8:36 pm

Re: Carrie Stevens, the hard way (long winded)

Post by bearbutt »

Warning: more long windedness ahead.

Carrie Stevens, Part 2.

As usual for me, winter defines my tying season—and despite the lack of snow on the ground here in New Buffalo, along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, I am determined to tie my way into something. I tie better when there’s snow around—the light seems more even. Or maybe it’s just more enjoyable? But right now it’s about 50 degrees out and raining and that’s not a traditional Michigan winter. Still, the tying needs to get done--the skaters and little dace and BWOs are done—I still have some tan CDC caddis to get tied. A little while ago I got into my head I would have another go at tying Stevens streamers. My first batch a year and a half ago was mostly 2s and 4s, and I wanted to tie some smaller ones this time around—6s and 8s—and putter around with a few new patterns. My streamer hook supply (and chart) grew over the past two years--Mustad 3907b hooks were a surprising discovery, they aren't really a great match for Allcock 1810s, but they have a very nice bend and barb, and a very deep bronze color--and are also contemporary with the 1810s

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The whole process actually began last fall, dyeing hackle. It’s actually more fun than it might seem at first, and, as I described earlier in the thread, it’s the only way to get overdyed hackle. I ended up dyeing with both Veniard dyes and RIT dye—the process is the same, needing only one 8” pot with a stainless bottom, and, uh, an especially tolerant wife—particularly as the pot had been her mother’s. Along the way, I chanced upon a Veniard pattern card for dyes, the cover looks like this:

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And inside was an array of dyed hackle samples. Most of the colors were in good shape; a few had oxidized, but after how many years? I have no idea when this card was produced—the 30s? 40s? even the50s? --if anyone has an inkling, please let us know.

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The dyeing went pretty well, it’s a good way to get a deeply-saturated yellow/orange that is a true canary. To do this some hackle was overdyed on yellow, some on orange, and some dyed straight up with white hackle:

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When I dye, I dye small batches of hackle that are sorted according to size and also which side of the neck they are on—center and right or center and left—so it helps keep them organized when making paired wingsets. Maybe ten feathers will get clamped by a one-inch chromed bulldog clamp, and maybe 6 of these will go into the dye pot. Dyeing whole capes is a bit messy—and risky, you have the whole cape on the line. By doing smaller lots, I can control the process a bit more, ensure even saturation of the dye, and dye some sections more heavily than others.

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For me there are four different operations, outside of the dyeing process:

1) Assemble cheeks
2) Assemble wingsets
3) Tie bodies
4) Assemble final flies

I had forgotten what fun it is to tie the bodies. Just to start you have to lay on the thread, starting from the eye then back to the bend then back--before laying on the tinsel. For a size 6 hooks this requires 125 wraps each way up and down the hook, a total of 250 wraps. A size 4 hook requires 370 wraps, and a size 2 hook takes a maddening 480 wraps--all this just to get ready for the tinsel.

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Of course, you can cheat and lay down the thread with greater spacing (as Hillyard does)—but I like the base that fairly close wraps provide for plate tinsel. I really like the stuff a lot, and my tinseling process follows Helen Shaw’s instructions—start at the eye, work to the bend, and reverse, and keep the tinsel edges up tight with each other. This image is from the original post on the project:

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When laying the tinsel and silk together, it’s very important to lock-wind the silk and the tinsel--at least I prefer this. Too many tiers wind both the silk and tinsel clockwise. I prefer that the silk should go clockwise, the tinsel counter-clockwise, so it looks like this half way down the hook:

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The whole process is incredibly slow, and I like to get in a rhythm for doing each of the steps, in this case 105 wingsets, 105 bodies, and so on. Some people like to tie one fly at a time, but I can’t do that for some reason.

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Assembling the wingsets is great fun, and makes a big mess. You’re stripping a lot of webby hackle to get the right feather length, and the stripped fluff sticks to everything you are wearing, especially wool long johns. My wife suggested I use a lint roller to get it off me—one of those rollers that has layers of tape that peel off with each use. The fluffed tape is pretty interesting to look at all by itself—

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If you have a big tying room, you can let everything sit and take up space as you work through the process. In my case I work on the kitchen table, so I have to clean up and move on at stray times. This year, after finishing the wingsets, I had to figure out how to transport them from Chicago to Michigan by car—as I would be completing the final assemblies out in the sticks. You want to keep the wingset pairs together when you move them—and the solution was to place them on strips of foam core and secure them with rubber bands, like this:

Image

So that brings us to the present—I’ll report more as the flies come together over the next ten days or so.

bb
Last edited by bearbutt on Sat Jan 11, 2020 11:48 am, edited 2 times in total.

tie2fish
Posts: 620
Joined: Mon Dec 23, 2013 4:39 pm
Location: Harford County, Maryland

Re: Carrie Stevens, the hard way (long winded)

Post by tie2fish »

My father always told me, "If you're going to do something, do it right." Apparently, bb, someone in your formative years handed out the same advice. Your C. Stevens project is a marvel.

ted patlen
Posts: 2008
Joined: Thu Apr 30, 2009 10:03 am

Re: Carrie Stevens, the hard way (long winded)

Post by ted patlen »

hey BB

i love the passion and work...extrememly impressive

I am in no way trying to throw a left hook at you but after you are finished will you tie a few like she did...without a vise?

ted

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