String figure glossary

Alice in Wonderland

string figureInvented by Martin Probert 2002. This moving figure illustrates two incidents from Lewis Carroll's Alice in Wonderland. Construction time 10 seconds.

  1. Use a 0.80 metre wide loop.
  2. This is the story of what happened to Alice in Wonderland when she fell down the rabbit hole.
    Insert the thumbs and little fingers into the loop (to give Position 1).
    Here is the Rabbit Hole.
  3. Alice ran into the hole, and fell down, and down, and down. When she got to the bottom she discovered a little bottle and round its neck a paper label with the words "DRINK ME" printed on it.
    Pick up the right palm string from below with the left middle finger.
  4. Separate the hands.
  5. Release the right hand.
  6. Pass the right thumb and right little finger on either side of the left middle finger loop so that they meet behind the loop. Insert the right thumb and right little finger from below into the left middle finger loop and separate the hands.
  7. Pass the right middle finger between the left middle finger strings and pick up from below the left palm string. Separate the hands.
  8. With each thumb, pick up the near middle finger string.
  9. Navaho the thumb loops.
  10. With each little finger, pick up the far middle finger string.
  11. Navaho the litttle finger loops.
  12. Release each middle finger.
  13. After checking that the bottle wasn't marked "POISON", Alice drank what was in it.
    Hold the right hand above the left hand, fingers pointing away from you. Extend carefully, rocking the right hand gently to help the extension, until the central 'knot' is about two centimetres long, then stop.
    "What a curious feeling!" said Alice as she began to shrink, and shrink, and shrink.
  14. Then her eye fell on a little glass box, and in it a very small cake marked "EAT ME".
    Return the hands to their usual position. Rotate the figure through ninety degrees as follows:
    1st:- transfer the loop from the left little finger to the left index;
    2nd:- transfer the loop from the right little finger to the left little finger;
    3rd:- transfer the loop from the right thumb to the right little finger;
    4th:- transfer the loop from the left thumb to the right thumb;
    5th:- transfer the loop from the left index to the left thumb.
  15. Spread the thumbs and little fingers as far apart as possible. Hold the right hand above the left hand, fingers pointing away from you, and if necessary move the hands very slightly apart to take up any slack.
  16. "Well, I'll eat it," said Alice.
    Slowly raise the right hand.
    "Curiouser and curiouser!" cried Alice ... "Now I'm opening out like the largest telescope that ever was! Good-bye, feet!"
  17. To dissolve, remove the thumbs from the loops, and extend.

(For another character from Lewis Carroll, see Jabberwock.)

Copyright © Martin Probert 2003
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