In my opinion the feathers for this year's fan shouldn't be all that long, but they do need to be lush and curvy so the first step is to take the feathers I purchased and convert them into plumes! Interestingly, the process is rather like tying up a roast. You create a series of connected loops which hold the feathers together and tie them off at the end. I did mine thus:
Match feathers together in sets of two as best you can. I look for feathers which are similar in length and curve and which will complement each other when assembled. This means that I wouldn't pair together two feathes which were both skimpy on the right side, but I would pair a right-side-skimpy feather with a full or left side skimpy one.
I stack the better looking feather on top of the less handsome one, flip them over so I am facing the backs and match the tips so the lengths look well. I take a needle threaded with a length of thread approximately three-to-four times the length of the feathers I'm working on and take a stitch around the stem by sticking the needle between the quills of the feather and coming back on the other side.
Then I tie the two ends of the thread together in a square knot, leaving one tail extending about 5" past the length of the feathers and the other with the bulk of the thread on the needle.
And then I get a little wild. I left the long tail because I want to be able to tie off in a square knot also, but I don't want the bulk of two threads when I'm stitching the feathers together so I lift the upper feather and work the thread clear of all the quills so that I can run my long tail down the center spine between the feather layers.
Once I close my little feather and thread sandwich back up I start stiching them together just as instructed, making a chain of loops to encase both spines and my thread tail.
I make multiple loops at the end an finish it off with another square knot.
To finish I rescue any trapped quills by pulling them out with a pin so the whole feather looks beautiful