The pillows are used for the basic foundation so the saddle hackles stay flat in place. As I recall, pillows are used in dry fly constructions to spley tail barbacles or lift them up off plane. The problems with tying saddle hackles flat are they want to roll over. Sometimes this can be minimized by where you trim the stem feather. Stems have round and oval cross-sectional areas in them. Ovals will stay in place better. This might not be possible though if you want a desired length of feather. You have no choice than to where you want it trimmed. Tying thread also has an effect. A flat braid tends to cause less problems.
Pillows are generally formed by the fluff of the same saddle hackle. You dub them on to the thread and wind them just before the bend in the hook before tying the first hackle. This gives you a flater softer area to stabilize the process.
The process I use most often requires no preping, but takes a little practice. This goes back to my dry fly days of tying duck wing quill feathers. I simple make sure that not only the stems of the feather touch the threaded shank but also part of the feather itself. Roll it over on both sides of the hook shank, now pinch it and make a few loose wraps with the thread through your fingers. Pull tight. This process might be better explained in older trout tying books.
Joe C. is the master of Pillow Talk.
Last edited by RayStachelek; 03-02-2002 at 05:26 PM.