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 (Fig. 11).

Fig. 11

String Figure Notation (SFN)

  1. T pu SN:ex
  2. L pu fTS:ex

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 finger 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. This method, however, has been found to be as easy as any other. The First Position is, of course, absurdly simple, yet it not infrequently puzzles the beginner, largely because it is the reverse of the first steps in the ordinary English Cat's-Cradle known to every child.