String figure glossary

Symbol Cycle

Invented by Martin Probert 2002. This cyclic tranformation figure forms the following symbols in sequence:

string figure string figure string figure string figure
Latin Cross Pentagram Hexagram Greek Cross

Construction time: 2 seconds for the Latin Cross, 1 second for the Pentagram, 1 second for the Hexagram, 3 seconds for the Greek Cross, then 1 second to recreate the Latin Cross.

  1. Use a 0.80 metre wide loop doubled (or use a 0.40 metre wide loop).
  2. Position 1. Pass the left index towards you over the near thumb string and, with the back of the left index, pick up the near thumb string. (The near string of the left index loop now passes to the right thumb, while beneath it is a string joining the near side of the left thumb to the far side of the left index.)
  3. Release the right hand.
  4. Insert the right index from below into the left thumb loop, then from above into the left index loop and, hooking the tip of the right index to the right palm, capture the near string of the left index loop in the curl of the right index. Separate the hands, drawing the near string of the left index loop (and no other string) to the right as far as it will go.
  5. Touch the tip of the right downward pointing index to the tip of the right thumb and transfer the right index loop to the right thumb. This gives the Latin Cross.
  6. Pass the right little finger over the right thumb loop and insert it from below into the left thumb loop. Extend. This forms the Pentagram.
  7. Bend the right index down on the right palm between the far string of the right thumb loop and the near string of the right little finger loop, bring the right index up inside the central pentagon, then insert the right index from above into the right thumb loop and hook down the string that forms the base of the right thumb triangle.
  8. Release the right thumb loop (letting it fall off both the right thumb and the hooked right index) and straighten the right index.
  9. Insert the right thumb from above into the right index loop and pick up the string at the base of the index loop triangle. Extend. This forms the Hexagram. (When you have mastered steps 7 to 9 you will find that the whole action can be made with a single fluid movement of the right index: there is no need to release and recapture the right thumb loop.)
  10. Insert the left index from above into the right index loop and, catching the base string of the right index triangle in the curl of the left index, rotate the left index away and up. This puts a second loop on the left index.
  11. Release the right index and right little finger without extending the figure. Insert the right index from above into the upper loop of the left index, then touch the tip of the right index to the tip of the right thumb and transfer the right thumb loop to the downward pointing right index. There are now two loops on the downward pointing right index.
  12. Extend. This forms the Greek Cross (with arms of equal length).
  13. Push the upper double loop on the left index toward the tip of the left index.
  14. Touch the tip of the right thumb to the tip of the right index and transfer the double loop nearest the tip of the downward pointing right index to the upward pointing right thumb.
  15. Release the right index and simultaneously release the upper loop from the left index. Extend. This recreates the first figure of the sequence, the Latin Cross.
  16. The sequence can be repeated endlessly.
  17. Copyright © Martin Probert 2003
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