String figure glossary

Dromedary - Bactrian Camel - Loch Ness Monster

Dromedary

string figure Invented by Martin Probert 1997. Use a four foot, or 1m 25cm, wide loop. Choose a string that forms a smooth curve when bent. Construction time 30 seconds.

  1. Opening A.
Steps 2-8 form the BACK and TAIL of animal:
  1. Rotate the right little finger towards you, down, away from you and up, thus giving a 360 degree turn towards you to the right little finger loop. (This step takes out a twist which will occur as a side effect of step 4.)
  2. Rotate the right index away from you, down, towards you and up, thus giving a 360 degree twist away from you to the right index loop.
  3. Pass each thumb from below up through the index loop and with the thumb remove from below the little finger loop. With the thumb pull the former little finger loop down through the index loop and then, passing under the index loop, replace the former little finger loop back on the little finger. Bring the thumb back to its usual position.
  4. Repeat step 3.
  5. Give the left index loop a 180 degree half turn away from you. (To do this neatly, with the left thumb remove the left index loop from below, then with the left index remove the upper left index loop from above.)
  6. With each index remove the thumb loop from below, then pass the thumb from below up through the lower index loop, remove the upper index loop with the thumb, and draw the thumb and loop down through the remaining index loop.
  7. With the left hand fingers comb the crossed strings towards the left hand in order to create room near the right hand for further manipulations.
Steps 9-13 form a HUMP:
  1. Rotate the right index towards you, down, away from you and up, thus giving a 360 degree twist towards you to the right index loop.
  2. Pass the right thumb from below up through the right index loop and with the right thumb remove from below the right little finger loop. With the right thumb pull the former right little finger loop down through the right index loop and then, passing under the right index loop, replace the former right little finger loop back on the right little finger. Bring the right thumb back to its usual position.
  3. Rotate the right index away from you, down, towards you and up, thus giving a 360 degree twist away from you to the right index loop.
  4. With the right index remove the right thumb loop from below, then pass the right thumb from below up through the lower right index loop, remove the upper right index loop, and draw the removed loop down through the remaining index loop.
  5. With the left hand fingers comb the crossed strings towards the left hand in order to create room near the right hand for further manipulations.
Steps 14-15 form the HEAD:
  1. Rotate the right index away from you, down, towards you and up, thus giving a 360 degree twist away from you to the right index loop.
  2. With the right index remove the right thumb loop from below, then pass the right thumb from below up through the lower right index loop, remove the upper right index loop, and draw the removed loop down through the remaining index loop.
Step 16 completes the figure:
  1. Release excessive tension. Carefully release the right index loop, letting it flip towards you to form the head. Carefully release the left index loop. With each index remove the thumb loop from above. Pass each thumb under all intervening strings and from below up into the little finger loop, and then from below up into the index loop. Release the index fingers. Hold each thumb against the base of the index finger to prevent the far thumb strings from slipping during the next action. On each side one far thumb string runs towards the centre of the figure. Pass each index down on the far side of that far thumb string and pick up the string on the tip of the index. Raise the upper frame string high on the tips of the index fingers. The Dromedary appears.
Step 17 dissolves the figure:
  1. Release the right hand; take hold the upper frame string between the tail and hump and hold it to the right palm with the curled middle, index and little fingers of the right hand; take hold of the tip of the tail with the right thumb and index; release the left hand; take the tip of the tail in the left hand, releasing the tip from the right thumb and index; move the left and right hand apart.

Bactrian Camel

string figure

(Invented by Martin Probert, 1997. Use a four foot, or 1m 25cm, wide loop.)

  1. Make 'Dromedary', but perform steps 9-13 twice to give two humps.

Loch Ness Monster

string figure

(Invented by Martin Probert, 1997. Use a four to five foot (1m 25cm to 1m 50cm) wide loop. Nessie, the legendary monster of the vast Loch Ness in Scotland, has been witnessed by hundreds of casual passers-by, has been captured on photograph and video, yet continues to elude the investigating scientist.)

  1. Make 'Dromedary', but perform steps 9-13 thrice to give three humps. Some motion (sniffing the air? getting ready to attack?) may be given to Nessie by rotating the tip of the right index in as large a circle as possible while moving the tip of the left index left and right in order to maintain the tension in the upper frame.

Copyright © Martin Probert 2003
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