Porcupine Quills.

Q: I have come into posession of a large number of porcupine quills, of varying length and diameter. Does anyone out there have any suggestions on how to use them? Are there any good books on preparing, dying, weaving, etc. with porcupine quill beads? If possible, I'd like to know some of the historical techniques. I have done a little weaving with regular plastic beads, but haven't done anything like this before, so consider me a beginner.

A: Regarding your question about using quills, try going to http://www.nativeweb.org/NativeTech/quill/band.html, Or pick your favorite search engine (I used www.infoseek.com) - type in "Quill Work" and there should be lots of information. Those big quills are GREAT for use as hairsticks, especially if you happen to be talking about the 12 inch African Porcupine Variety. Let me see if I can figure out something to do with them myself, first. If I don't have any luck, eventually I'll give up in frustration and put them up for grabs. You're just lucky my old boss, who was into 19th century reenactment, didn't con me out of them before I escaped her clutches! I clicked on that, and it gave me a "404 Not Found". I got into 'NativeTech' easily enough. That page has separate sections for "Beadwork", and for "Porcupine Quills". The 'Beadwork' section doesn't include quills, and the 'Quills' section only talks about embroidering/weaving. Actually, some of them are small enough, I'd probably do better using them that way, but I'd still like to figure out how to make beads out of the larger ones! I understand that if you soak them for long enough, they can become porous enough to use them for beading...I own a few pair of earrings a friend made me, that she had done this way.