First Position

The following movements put the loop on the hands in what for convenience may be called the First Position.  Very many string games begin in this way; and the movements should be learned now, as we shall not repeat the description with every figure.

First: Put the little fingers into the loop of string, and separate the hands.

You now have a single loop on each little finger passing directly and uncrossed to the opposite little finger.

Second: Turning the hands with the palms away from you, put each thumb into the little finger loop from below, and pick up on the back of the thumb the near little finger string, then, allowing the far little finger string to remain on the little finger, turn the hands with the palms facing each other, return the thumbs to their extended position, and draw the strings tight.

In the First Position, therefore, there is, on each hand, a string which crosses the palm, and passing behind the thumb runs to the other hand to form the near thumb string of the figure, and passing behind the little finer runs to the other hand to form the far little finger string.

It is not essential that the loop shall be put on the hands by the movements just described; any method will answer, so long as the proper position of the string is secured. The method, however, has been found to be as easy as any other.

Cat’s Cradle

All the string figures described in these instructions open the same way; to avoid constant repetition therefore, we call this very general method of beginning Cat’s Cradle.  It should be learned now, because in the descriptions of the figures in which it occurs, the first movement will be simply noted as Cat’s Cradle.  It is formed by three movements.

  1. Put the loop on the hands in the First Position.
  2. Bring the hands together, and put the right index up under the string which crosses the left palm, and draw the loop out on the back of the finger by separating the hands.
  3. Bring the hands together again, and put the left index up under that part of the string crossing the palm of the right hand which is between the strings of the right index, and draw the loop out on the back of the left index by separating the hands.  You now have a loop on each thumb, index and little finger.  There is a near thumb string and a far little finger string passing directly from one hand to the other, and two crosses formed between them by the near little finger string of one hand becoming the far index string of the other hand.

YOU ARE NOW READY FOR STRING FIGURE FUN……

An Apache Door

  1. Cat’s Cradle.
  2. With the right thumb and index pick up the left near index string close to the left index and let it drop down on the left wrist.  With the left thumb and index pick up the right near index string close to the right index, and life the loop entirely off the right near index; then put the loop over the right hand and let it drop down on the right wrist. Separate the hands and draw the strings tight. You now have a loop on each thumb, a loop on each little finger, and a loop on each wrist.
  3. With the right thumb and index pick up the left near little finger string (not the whole loop) close to the left little finger, and, drawing it toward you, pass it between the left index and thumb, and release it. With the right thumb and index pick up the left far thumb string close to the left thumb, and, drawing it away from you, pass it between the left ring and little fingers, and release it. With the left thumb and index pick up the right near little finger string close to the right little finger, and, drawing it toward you, pass it between the right index and thumb, and release it.  With the left thumb and index pick up the right far thumb string close to the right thumb, and, drawing it away from you, pass it between the right ring and little fingers, and release it.  You now have a loop on each wrist, and two strings crossing each palm in the First Position.
  4. Keeping all the loops in position on both hands, with the left hand grasp tightly on all the strings where they cross in the centre of the figure, and pass this collection of strings from left to right between the right thumb and index, that is, from the palmar side to the back of the hand, and let them lie on the back of the hand midway between the thumb and index finger.  Then with the left thumb and index take hold of the two loops already on the right thumb, and, without pulling them out, draw them over the tip of the right thumb. Now still holding the loops, let the collection of strings lying low down between the right index and thumb, slip over the right thumb to the palmar side.  The right thumb is now entirely free.  Without untwisting the two original right thumb loops, which you are still holding with the left thumb and index, replace these loops on the right thumb exactly as they were before the collected strings were placed between the right index and thumb. Separate the hands, and draw the strings tight. Now repeat exactly the same movement on the left hand as follows: Keeping all the loops in position on both hands, with the right hand grasp tightly all the strings where they cross in the centre of the figure, and pass this collections of strings from left to right between the left index and thumb, that is, from the palm side to the back of the hand, and let them lie on the back of the hand midway between the index and thumb; then with the right thumb and index take hold of the two loops already on the left hand thumb and, without pulling them out, draw them over the tip of the left thumb. Now, still holding these loops, let the collection of strings lying low down between the left index and thumb, slip over the left thumb to the palm side. The left thumb is now entirely free. Without untwisting the two original left thumb loops, which you are still holding with the right thumb and index, replace these loops on the left thumb exactly as they were before the collected strings were placed between the left index and thumb. Separate the hands, and draw the strings tight. You now have a loop on each wrist, two twisted loops on each thumb, and two twisted loops on each little finger.
  5. With the right thumb and index lift the left wrist loop from the back of the left wrist loop from the back of the left wrist up over the tips of all the left fingers, and let it fall on the palm side. With the left thumb and index lift the right wrist loop from the back of the right wrist up over the tips of all the right fingers, and let it fall on the palm side.
  6. Retaining the loops on the thumbs and little fingers, rub the palms of the together; then separate the hands, and draw the figure tight. This is a beautiful figure, and not at all difficult. Moreover it retains its shape n matter how tight you may pull it.

Many Stars

  1. Cat’s Cradle.
  2. Pass each thumb away from you over the far thumb string and both index strings, and pick up from below, on the back of the thumb, the near little finger string (Fig. 12, Left hand), and return the thumb to its original position (Fig. 12, Right hand).
  3. Bend each middle finger down toward you over the index strings, and take up from below, on the back of the finger, the far thumb string and return the middle finger to its original position. Release the loops from the thumbs. You now have a loop on each index, a loop on each middle finger, and a loop on each little finger.
  4. Turning the palms slightly away from you, pass each thumb away from you over the near index string, but under the far index string, both strings on the middle finger and also under both strings on the little finger; then drawing the thumb toward you, take up on the back of the thumb the far little finger string and return the thumb to its position, bringing back with it through the index loop only the far little finger string (Fig. 15, Right hand). Release the loops from the little fingers.
  5. Put the tips of the right thumb and index together, and put the tips of the left thumb and index together, then turning each hand slightly away from you pass these fingers over the far thumb string and the index loop and away from you under and past the two strings coming from the middle finger. Now, drawing the thumb and index (still held together) toward you, take up on their tips the far middle finger string, and draw it toward you under the near middle finger string (Fig. 16, Left hand). Let the twisted loop slip off the middle finger, and widen out the loop held on the tips of the thumb and index by separating these fingers (Fig. 16, Right hand). You now have a loop on each thumb, a loop on each index, and a loop passing around both thumb and index.
  6. Keeping all the loops carefully in place on the right hand, with the right thumb and index lift from the back of the left thumb the lower loop on the left thumb up over the upper loop (which passes around both thumb and index), then entirely off the left thumb, being careful not to take off also the upper loop, and let it drop on the palm side of the thumb. With the right thumb and index in the same way lift the lower left index loop over the upper left index loop and off the left index. Keeping all the loops carefully in place on the left hand, with the left thumb and index lift the lower loop on the right thumb up over the upper loop, off the right thumb, and let it drop on the palm side. With the left thumb and index, in the same way, lift the lower right index loop over the upper right index loop, then off the right index, and let it drop on the palm side. You now have on each hand a single loop passing around both thumb and index. Two other loops are held by that part of the loop passing from the back of the thumb to the back of the index.
  7. a.) Put each middle finger from below up on the far side of the lower near string of the four passing around the string running from the back of the thumb to the back of the index; bend the middle finger toward you, and pull this lower near string down, of course on the near side of the other three strings, and letting the loop slip off each thumb, extend the figure between the index fingers and the middle fingers, bent on the palms. b.) There is another way of doing this movement. Bend each thumb away from you, and pull down the lower near string of the four strings forming the two loops held out by the loop passing around the thumb and index, and extend the figure between the index fingers and thumbs, holding the palms of the hands away from you.

An Owl

  1. Cat’s Cradle.
  2. Put the right index from above down behind the string on the left palm, draw it out and twist it by twice rotating the index toward you and then up. Separate the hands.
  3. Take up from below with the left index the string on the right palm, not through the right index loop as is usual, but between the near index string and the thumb (Fig. 24). Separate the hands.
  4. Proceed now as in “Many Stars,” from the Second movement to the very end, concluding with the Seventh or the Seventh A movement.The “Owl” will then be formed (Fig. 25).

The movements of the “Owl” are all the same as those of “Many Stars” except the Second and Third.The Second movement is about the only way you can put a twist and a half in the index loop, by the index itself, and restore the index to its usual position; if you rotate the index after the usual formation of Cat’s Cradle. you put one twist in the index loop.The Third movement is peculiar to this figure.

A Second Owl

  1. Cat’s Cradle.
  2. Bend each index down between the far index string and the near little finger string, and bring it toward you and up between the near index string and the far thumb string.The index loop, which has been kept on the finger during this movement, is thereby given a single twist.
  3. Complete the figure by doing the Second,Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Seventh movements of “Many Stars”. The movements of this figure are similar to those of “Many Stars,” except for the additional Second movement, which puts a twist in the index loops.

Seven Stars

1 – 5. The first five movements are the same as the first five movements of “Many Stars.”

6. Withdraw each thumb from the loop, passing around both thumb and index, and keep this loop high up on the index. You now have two loops on each index and a loop on each thumb.

7. Pass each thumb from below through both index loops; then with the right thumb and index lift the lowest (the original) left thumb loop over the upper two thumb loops (which pass around both thumb and index) and entirely off the left thumb; let it drop on the palm side. In the same way with the left thumb and index lift the lowest right loop over the upper two thumb loops and entirely off the right thumb.

8. Put each middle finger from below into the thumb loop and then up on the far side of the upper straight string crossing this loop, bend the figure toward you, and pull this straight string down. Release the loops from the thumbs, and extend the figure between the index fingers and the middle fingers closed on the palm. An extra turn around the index fingers displays the pattern better.

This figure differs from “Many Stars” only in the Sixth and Seventh movements; each thumb loop is slipped over the two index loops, instead of both the thumb and index loops being slipped over the loop common to the thumb and index.

Big Star

  1. Cat’s Cradle
  2. Pass each thumb away from you over the far thumb string and the near index string and under the far index string and both strings of the little finger loop; then, drawing the thumb toward you, take up on the back of it’s tip the far little finger and bring it toward you, under the near little finger string and through the index loop, by restoring the thumb to its position.
  3. Now complete the figure by doing the Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth and Seventh movements of “Many Stars”.

This figure differs from “Many Stars” only in the second movement. In “Many Stars” it is the near little finger string which is drawn toward you over the index loop. In this figure it is the far little finger string which is drawn toward you through the index loop – in other words, the Second movement is like the Fourth.

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