LLX > Neil Parker > String Figures > Jayne

New Mittens (Ajakailaiguk)

1. Arctic opening B.

2. Pass left thumb under left index loop. Pick up left far index string, and return under left near index string.

3. Pass left little finger under left near index string and lower left far thumb string, and into lower left thumb loop from below. Pick up lower left far thumb string, and return under left near index string.

4. Pass left little finger over left near index string, and hook this string down, allowing original left little finger loop to slip off.

5. Release upper left thumb loop, and bend left thumb away from you and down, hooking it over its own far string, to the right of the point where it crosses the left index-little-finger string.

6. Release left little finger and right thumb. Untwist the right index loop by turning the right index a half-turn toward you and down. Widen the right index loop by inserting the right thumb into it and spreading the right thumb and index apart.

A careful inspection shows that the string crossings don't quite match the string crossings of Jayne's figure. The string crossings in Jayne's figure are wrong - in fact, the crossings shown in her figure are impossible; that is, the illustrated figure cannot be made from an unknotted loop of string (this can be seen by laying out a piece of string as shown in Jayne's figure, fastening the ends together, and trying to dissolve the figure - it produces a knot that can't be undone without unfastening the ends of the string).

The instructions above are taken from [Jenness 1924] figure XCI ("The Turnstone"). Of course I can't guarantee that this is what Jayne's figure should have been, but it seems quite likely. The figure produced by the instructions differs from the illustration in only a single string crossing.

[Averkieva 1992] (figure 33, "Another Deer," which is the same as Jenness's "Turnstone") refers to Jayne's figure as "a similar but nonidentical pattern." For the reasons stated above, I suspect that in fact it is identical.

For comparison, here is [Jenness 1924]'s figure XCVI ("A Bleeding Heel"), which comes out with a similar result but rotated around 180 degrees, and with string crossings that differ from Jayne's illustration in different ways than the above method.

1. Opening C.

2. Pass right index under left thumb-index string, and release left thumb loop. Pass left thumb under right thumb-index string, and release lower (original) loop from right index. If ring fingers are holding down any strings, release them now.

3. Insert left thumb from below into left index loop, and pick up left near index string. Pull this string back toward you through original left thumb loop, allowing original thumb loop to slip off.

4. Repeat step 3.

5. Release left index and little finger loop, and right thumb loop. Untwist left thumb loop by giving it a full twist toward you.

Some manual adjustment may be necessary to prevent the figure from collapsing into a tight knot as the hands are separated.


A similar figure is made in Hawaii, as part of a series ([Dickey 1928]):

1. Pick up loop on left thumb and index finger, and right thumb.

2. With right index, pick up left thumb-index string from below.

3. Insert little fingers into index loops from below, and hook near index strings down to palm.

4. Exchange index loops, by inserting left index into right index loop from above and transferring right index loop to left index, and then inserting right index, outside upper (new) left index loop, into lower (original) left index loop from above, and transferring lower (original) left index loop to right index.

5. Transfer index loops to thumbs.

6. Insert indexes and middle fingers into upper thumb loops from above. Passing indexes to near side, and middle fingers to far side, of lower near thumb string, pinch lower near thumb string between them. Rotate indexes and middle finger a half-turn away from you and up, so that lower near thumb string becomes the new near index string. Release thumb loops.

This figure is called Kauiki ("Little Canoe").

7. Without twisting the left index and little finger loops, lay them down on your lap or a table, and withdraw the left hand. With the left thumb and index, reach through the former left little finger loop from above, and grab the near string of the former index loop. Pull it back through the former left little finger loop, and put it on the left thumb.

This gives Tuu Tamahine ("My Daugher"), also called Ka Hau Koholio ("Land Breeze of Kona"), which is almost the same as A Bleeding Heel above (a couple of string crossings are different).

The series continues:

8. Transfer left thumb loop to left little finger. Then insert left thumb under left near little finger string, just to the right of the leftmost loop that loops around it. Release left little finger, and draw out new left thumb loop.

This gives Alualu Atu ("I Went Hunting"). The series continues further:

9. Transfer left thumb loop to left little finger. Then insert left thumb into left little finger loop just the right of the leftmost loop that loops around the far left little finger string. Release left little finger, and pressing down with the left thumb and pulling to the left, draw out the (former) far left little finger string into a new left thumb loop.

This gives Pali o Ke-E ("Cliff Ke-E").

Finally, release the right little finger loop.

LLX > Neil Parker > String Figures > Jayne