Just read on the parkin fabrics facebook page that they recommend putting quills in hot water to soften them before curling. I thought this was interesting. Does anyone else use this method?

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Yes.  I soak quills in hot water for a while, then curl them with a curling iron.  It works a treat.  Can't remember how long to soak them, maybe half an hour to an hour.

Makes perfect sense, otherwise they might crack.  I will try this on my catalpa pods, that are in abundance in our yard  in the fall!!

yes, I was shown this a few weeks ago at a feather workshop. they soften up beautifully, and you can also straighten the quills if you go wrong, by just pouring boiling water from the kettle over them

Yes. A while back, l learned to treat "feathers like hair" and quills "like nails". They are, after all, protein. Also, of course, when placing dyed feathers in hot water, remember to keep same colors together. No matter how good a dye, no sense in risking bleed-off.

I do not use hot water but I always give them a good steam first.

Yes a soak and curl them gently around something, I have used straighteners, but have not got on too well with the curling tongs.

I have just tried my new heat gun on the quills and it works really well. You just have to be careful not to hold it too close.

That's interesting, maybe I will try the hairdryer, though I suspect softening with steam or water is safer

I use steam, but at times will soak quills that are particularly difficult.

Hi Kylie - thanks for posting this. I've been using hot water so glad to know I'm not crazy :-). I heat up a large pot of water and dip in my ostrich quills to soften and start them curling, then use a flat iron or curling iron to finish.
This is awesome information!!!

I was going to ask this very question today so happy to have found this thread. 

So we think about 30 mins in boiling water and then curl them around something? I haven't had much joy with an iron or curling tongs... I can get some shape into them but not the tighter curls I'm after (and sometimes the quill can snap). 

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