Kind of Easy String Figures
American Indian (#10S)
1 OA:tr FN to W
(or P1:rH pu lPS:lH pu rPS)
2 T pu nLS:L pu fTS
3 rT mu S pu all S bt TF
(original 2 TN must be visible above these S)
4 lTF gr 2rTN, re rT, rT mo S pu (original) 2rTN
5 repeat with lH:re WN:ex H
Do Opening A using a long #10 string loop. Transfer the forefinger nooses to the wrists (or start with Position 1 and pick up the left palm string using your entire right hand, then do the same with your left hand). (2) Thumbs pick up the near little finger strings, then the little fingers pick up the far thumb strings. (3) The right thumb then moves under all strings and picks all of them up as low as possible so that they lie between the thumb and forefinger (the original two thumb nooses must be visible above these strings). (4) Use your left thumb and forefinger to grasp the original two right thumb nooses, then remove your right thumb out from under all strings. Next move it over all strings and put it back into the original two thumb nooses. (5) Repeat these steps (3 and 4) doing the same for the left hand. Remove the wrist nooses from both hands, cup all the strings between your hands and then blow sharply into your cupped hands before extending the figure. According to primary sources blowing on the loose strings helps the figure turn out well, so play along with tradition and blow on the strings—or else!
Super Apache Door
1 P1 (#12S):rF gr-mt-pu lPS
2 lF mu XS gr-pt-mt-pu rPS
3 T tw-ma TN, L tw-mt LN
4 tr FN to W
5 steps 2-5 of Apache Door
There are many minor variations on the Apache Door, but this is the one to know. Start with Position 1 using a long #12 string. With your right forefinger grab the left palm string, then move your forefinger toward you to pick up the left palm string giving it a 180-degree twist. (2) With your left forefinger, move right going under the crossed right forefinger strings (which will be hanging down as you do this) and grab the right palm string. As you pull the right palm string out, twist your left forefinger toward you to pick up the right palm string. (3) Now twist the thumb nooses by first moving away from you, then down and back up. Twist the little fingers similarly by moving them toward you, then down and up. (4) Transfer the forefinger nooses to the wrists. (5) Now do steps 2 to 5 of Apache Door.
Cheating the Hangman
1 Put SN around neck
2 rH gr rS and tw ar neck
3 OA with hanging S
4 re LN:L pu fFS
5 ex H up over head
6 put head into FLN
7 re T:ex quickly
First, you might want to forbid children from put the string around their necks for any reason, and from doing this trick (without your supervision). But otherwise, put the string loop around your neck. (2) Grab the right hanging string with your right hand and twist it around your neck. (3) Take up the hanging string and do Position 1, then Opening A. (4) Release your little fingers, then pick up the far forefinger string with your little fingers to create a large opening. (5) Hold your hands above your head and lower them so that (6) your head goes through the large opening. (7) After the drum roll, release your thumbs, extend hands apart quickly, and the string will magically pass through your neck.
To foil imitators, as you release your thumbs and quickly extend your hands, transfer the forefinger nooses to your thumbs so that the string loop ends up on your thumbs. This will make it appear that you had released your forefingers. Also vary your performance by twisting the left hanging string around your neck and doing Opening B. Do any other variations and you'll hang yourself!
1 F pu SN:MRL gr SN
2 tr rFN to lF & lFN to rF (rN th lN)
3 T mo-de nFS mu-pu 2nMRLS:re F
4 F md-th TN ma-pu 2 DS:re T
5 re MRL, kl:MRL mu-gr nTS, ex
Pick up the string loop on the forefingers only without any twists. Middle, ring, and little fingers then grab the string noose. (2) Transfer the right forefinger noose to the left forefinger by inserting the left forefinger from above into the right forefinger noose and remove it. The right forefinger then picks up, from the backside of the left forefinger, the bottom left forefinger noose, removing it from the left forefinger. (In this way the original right noose passes through the left noose). (3) The thumbs now move over the near forefinger strings, then depresses them so that the thumbs can move under and pick up the two near middle/ring/little finger strings. Release the forefingers. (4) Forefingers then move down and through the thumb nooses, then they move away from you to pick up diagonal strings that loop around the far thumb strings. Release thumbs. (5) Release the middle, ring, and little fingers, but keep the strings loose. Finally go under the strings with your middle, ring, and little fingers, grab the near thumb strings, and extend the figure.
This figure is called Little Finger because a second person is asked to put their little finger through the center triangle (or circle if the string is not pulled tight). The triangle is then closed trapping the victim's little finger. But if they only knew the secret, they could free themselves! (The secret—but don't tell anyone—is to slip your little finger between one of the two doubled lower strings, bend it upward, and slip it out).
This is only one method of making this figure, which is also known as A Mouth. Three more methods can be found in the Arctic String Figure Project.
1 OA:F mu-pu TN
2 T mu-th LN mo tfFS gr ntFS pt LN
3 T mu-pu-pt fLS
4 T mo bnFS pu tnFSnF:na T
5 re tFN:re LN, kl
6 FMRL gr FN&fTS:Fmo-pu TN, ex F up
Do Opening A. Forefingers pick up from below the thumb nooses removing them from the thumbs. (2) Thumbs then move under and through the little finger nooses, over the top far forefinger strings, and then grab the near top forefinger string pulling it through the little finger nooses. (3) Thumbs move under, pick up/pull through the far little finger string. (4) Thumbs move over the bottom near forefinger strings and pick up the top near forefinger strings as near as possible to the forefingers. Navaho the thumbs. (5) Release the top forefinger nooses, and the little finger nooses, but keep the strings loose. (6) The forefingers, middle, ring, and little fingers then grab the forefinger nooses and far thumb string. Forefingers pick up the thumb nooses and extend upwards to bring up the rabbit's ears. You may need to adjust the strings to arrange the figure to look like a rabbit's head. An extra twist around the forefingers may help if the top string is too long.
1 OA:TF pu nLS:re L
2 NE (Navaho Extension)
Do Opening A. With the tips of your thumbs and forefingers pressed together, pick up the near little finger strings then release the little fingers thereby transferring the little finger nooses to the thumbs/forefingers. (2) Do the Navaho Extension that all the remaining figures on this page will end in. Do this extension by navahoing your thumbs and forefingers (removing the lower nooses) while keeping all the strings loose. Then reach up from below with your middle fingers into the thumb nooses and grab the string that passes over the top of thumb nooses. Release your thumbs, and extend the figure with palms towards you, forefingers up.
2 T mo S pu nLS
3 M mo FN pu bfTS:re T
4 T mo-th FN pu-pt fLS:re L
5 T mo FN pu MN
6 F mo-pu tTN:T pu tnFS
7 NE for Many Stars
8 T ma-th small triangle on FMN:re F:tw T down, P out to make the Owl or Bat
Do Opening A. (2) Thumbs move over intervening strings and pick up the near little finger strings. (3) Middle fingers move over the forefinger nooses and pick up the bottom far thumb strings. Release thumbs. (4) Thumbs move over and through the forefinger nooses, then pick up, and pull through the thumb nooses, the far little finger string. Release little fingers. (5) Thumbs move over the forefinger nooses and pick up the middle finger nooses (removing from middle fingers). (6) Forefingers move over, into, and pick up the top thumb noose (removing it from the thumbs). Thumbs then pick up the top near forefinger strings. (7) Do the Navaho Extension to make Many Stars appear. (8) You can now make an owl, or bat, to fly in the night sky. Look at the near forefinger string going down to your middle fingers. The middle of this string forms one side of a small triangle, which is usually visible as a triangle, but may have collapsed in extending the figure. Move your thumbs away from you and force them, if necessary, through the small triangle. Release your forefingers. The Owl, or Bat is upside down. To right it, turn your thumbs towards you, rotate them down, and turn your palms out. Rotate your hands in and out to make the bat fly.
1 OA:F ma-tw FM
2 steps 2-8 of Many Stars
Do Opening A. Moving your forefingers first away from you, twist the forefinger nooses 360-degrees. (2) Do steps 2-7 of Many Stars to get the illustrated figure. Doesn't look like an owl? Do step 8 of Many Stars.
1 steps 1-3 of Many Stars
2 T mu-th FN pu fLS, re L
3 steps 5-8 of Many Stars
Do steps 1 to 3 of Many Stars. Thumbs move under and through the forefinger nooses and pick up the far little finger strings. Release the little fingers. (3) Do steps 5-7 of Many Stars to get the figure illustrated. Doesn't look like an owl? Do step 8 of Many Stars.
2 T mo-th FN pu-pt fLS
3 steps 3-7 of Many Stars
Do Opening A. Thumbs move over and through the forefinger nooses and pick up/pull through the far little finger string. Do steps 3 to 7 of Many Stars.
1 steps 1-6 of Many Stars
2 re tTN:T mu-th pu 2nFS, na T
3 M mu-th TN ma-th N ar TFN gr-de tS on TFN
4 re T, ex F up:F mo tfFS pu-tw onto F
Do steps 1 to 6 of Many Stars using a long string. (2) Release the top thumb noose. Thumbs then move under, up into the forefinger nooses, and pick up both near forefinger strings. Navaho thumbs. (3) Middle fingers move under and through the thumb nooses, then away from you and through the small string noose that goes around the thumb/forefingers noose. Grab and depress the top string of this noose, and (4) release your thumbs. Extend the forefingers up, and, if necessary, move over the top far forefinger string and pick it up, twisting it onto the forefingers.
1 steps 1-6 of Many Stars
2 re tTN:na F, kl:T pu nFS, kl:na T, kl
3 M mu S ma-gr tS on TFN:re T, ex
Do steps 1 to 6 of Many Stars (2) Release the top thumb strings. Navaho the forefingers, and keep all strings loose. Thumbs pick up the near forefinger strings, keep strings loose. Navaho thumbs, and keep strings loose. Now reach from underneath and grab the top string of the noose that goes around the thumb/forefingers and depress it. Release thumbs, and extend.
A figure contributed by Daniel Vera of Finland
I was manipulating "Many Stars" and I came up with this cat look-a-like figure:
First 4 moves are same as in "Many Stars"
2 T mo S pu nLS
3 M mo FN pu bfTS:re T
4 T mo-th FN pu-pt fLS:re L
5 F pu MN [(or) F pu nMS :re M]
6 na FN
7 T gr TNS
(1) Do Opening A. (2) Thumbs move over intervening strings and pick up the near little finger strings. (3) Middle fingers move over the forefinger nooses and pick up the bottom far thumb strings. Release thumbs. (4) Thumbs move over and through the forefinger nooses, then pick up, and pull through the thumb nooses, the far little finger string. Release little fingers. (5) forefingers pick up middle finger nooses (or forefingers pick up near middle finger strings, and release middle fingers) (6) Navajo forefingers. (7) Thumbs grap the string going around the thumb noose; extend carefully and let the former thumb noose slip off.
1 OA:lF mo-pu rFN, kl
2 rF mo-pu lbFN
3 rT mu S pu-tr rfLS to O:re L, ex
4 lH gr lHS:rH gr CS left of rfF/OS
5 TF mt-th-pu large ON:NE
Do Opening A. With your left forefinger, move over and pick up the right forefinger noose, keeping all strings loose. (2) With your right forefinger, move over and pick up the left bottom forefinger noose. (3) With your right thumb, move under all strings, pick up, and transfer the right far little finger string to your mouth. Release little fingers and tighten up the strings. (4) With your left hand grab the left hand strings. With your right hand grab the center string to the left of the right far forefinger string going to your mouth. (5) With your thumbs and forefingers move towards you, through, and pick up the large opening in the noose going to your mouth below the small loop near your mouth. Now do the Navaho Extension.
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