Some more ideas on tying micropatterns (#18s and smaller):
1. Darrel Martin's Micropatterns book. Much more technical than Engle's book, but there are many accessible passages and great ideas/patterns.
2. Despite the heat, I prefer 100-Watt halogen bulbs.
3. More so than tools, the selection of quality and suitable materials is the name of the game here (CDC, snowshoe hare foot fur, mole fur, muskrat fur, silk dubbing, fine synthetic (antron & poly) dubbings, micro tinsels, ultra-fine gauge wire, micro lead and tungsten wire, micro-flashes, Whiting Farms' cape & (midge) saddle hackles, stripped (and dyed) peacock herl, etc., etc.). In the end it's all about the right materials here, and anyway, you can only get so much stuff on a tiny hook.
4. Threads: Benecchi 12/0; Gudebrod 10/0 which Engle declares "changed his life". Without being a smart a$$, and with all due respect, nicking thread on the hook point is not the thread's fault. Tying Small Flies also has great notes and a comparison list of fine threads -- pp. 22-24. Benecchi 12/0 is strong enough to flare deer hair on, say, small comparaduns. Gel spun threads, with possibly the exception of Benecchi's Ultra Strong Thread, may be too bulky. There are also two threads (I know this is obscure, but they are excellent and can be available over here) from the Czech Republic: Hyperfine Thread (Jan Siman Products) and Synton (Hends Products). Both are two stranded monofilament threads and are excellent for twisting dubbing loops to use on small patterns -- you just feed the dubbing material between the two strands and twist the bobbin (not unlike the 'split-thread' dubbing loop method where flat, floss-like threads, often made of nylon, such as the Wapsi UTC 70) are separated into divided 'strands'.
5. Hooks: For the most part, I prefer straight-eye, wide-gaped hooks such as the TMC 2488 & 2488H, TMC 518 (down to #32), Daiichi 1270 (long-shank curved hook), Daiichi 1480 with a limerick bend, Daiichi 1640; and TMC 501, TMC 103BL, TMC 900BL, TMC 206BL, Partridge K14ST (Oliver Edwards' silver-plated emerger hook -- down to #20); Gamakatsu also has a number of excellent small hooks. Some of those are uncommon but are out there.
6. Hackle Pliers were mentioned. I prefer the small 'tear-drop' model of John Dorin pliers. The are extremely light-weighted, thereby putting very little tension and avoiding breakage on hackle, herl, pheasant tail fiber, or biot as you wrap it around the hook shank. Matarelli Midge bobbins. C&F Midge Bobbin. Renzetti mini hair stacker (which has two different size brass 'stackers' in the same tool). And perhaps most important: excellent, sharp, fine-tipped scissors. Scissors would be an interesting thread in itself. There are even micro whip finishers (Wasatch and Griffin, for example); and small brass half-hitch tools (Edgin) help me tremendously with small parachute patterns.
"...small flies are often successful due to the particular requirements of tying and trouting. As patterns become smaller, so do the defects in color, proportion, and silhouette. Instead of creating more realistic imitations for fastidious fish, a tyer merely ties small. Micropatterns simply reduce, minimize the inherent deficiencies of imitative tying..." -- Darrel Martin, Micropatterns.