String figure it out geocache
Puzzle type cache iconString Figure It Out
by Kabutroid [profile]
User's Web Page

N 49° 49.575 W 097° 08.650
UTM: 14U E 633476 N 5520964

In Manitoba, Canada
Hidden: 08/08/2007
Use waypoint: GC14MVE

Difficulty 3 Terrain 2


They will take you to a parking lot most central to all of the possibilities.

Everyone has seen them (or at the bare minimum, heard of the game "Cat's Cradle"), yet few are aware of how to create them. How familiar are YOU with string figures, and would you be willing to learn how to make one to find a geocache?

This cache is dedicated to a little known hobby of mine which I have practiced and played around with for years. String figures are seen by many as a simple waste of time, and are generally disregarded as any kind of art form or skill. Few people know how to make them, and those that know how will keep it to themselves to avoid looking silly. I wish to break this stigma, and teach people a little bit about the string figure hobby that is taking the world like molasses running uphill.

Kabutroid presenting a loop of string, with text saying can you string figure it out

If you can follow these simple instructions, starting at the position shown above... you will have your coordinates. Take note that you can use your middle-finger instead of your index-finger to make virtually all string figures (in the pictures below, I may be using one or the other, whichever is more comfortable to use for that particular figure).

Instructions (and some definitions you may find handy)

1. Insert right index-finger from below into left-hand palm string and extend hands, picking up the left palm string with the right index-finger.
2. Insert left index-finger from below into right-hand palm string and extend hands, picking up the right palm string with the left index-finger.
3. Release both thumbs from their loops.
4. Pass both thumbs underneath and past all strings, and return with the far little-finger string on the backs of the thumbs.
5. Pass thumbs over and into index loop from above and return with the far index string on the back of the thumbs.
6. Drop all strings from little-fingers.
7. Pass both little-fingers towards you overtop of the near index string and pick up the far thumb string from below. Return back to position.
8. Drop all strings from thumbs.
9. Pass thumbs over both index strings and under the near little-finger string. Reach thumbs into little-finger loops from below and return with near little-finger string.
10. There is a string that goes from your thumbs directly to your little fingers, overtop of the index loops. Pass both your thumbs under the near index-finger strings, up into the index loops OUTSIDE the palm string, and return with the near index string. This should be done right next to the index-fingers, closer to the hands than the palm string. Do not do this step on the inside of the palm strings, closer to the center of the figure.
11. There should now be two strings on the thumbs, the upper string that you just placed there, and the lower string that has been there since step 9. Take the lower thumb strings and take them off of the thumbs, going overtop the upper thumb strings. The upper thumb strings should remain, and the lower thumb strings should now be forming a small triangle with what had been the palm string.
12. Dip the index-fingers from above into the triangles I just mentioned, and leave them there.
13. Release all strings from little-fingers. Do not worry if the lower, original strings on the index fingers drop off accidentally as well, but try to keep them there for a better looking final figure.
14. If they have not already, drop the original, lower strings from the index fingers while rotating your hands downwards and away from you. Keep the index string pinched in the bend of your index fingers.
15. As your palms face away from you, the index strings should now be safe from falling off, and you will have your final figure.

Now... what did you make? Each picture linked has six possible figures. Pick the letter corresponding to the string figure you just created and find the cache at the coordinates below:

N49 49.495 W097 08.040
N49 49.638 W097 08.534
N49 49.213 W097 09.210
N49 49.506 W097 08.599
N49 49.737 W097 08.471
N49 49.601 W097 08.957
N49 49.151 W097 08.456
N49 49.780 W097 08.731
N49 49.369 W097 08.207
N49 49.772 W097 08.189
N49 49.035 W097 07.919
N49 49.494 W097 08.824
N49 49.326 W097 08.467
N49 49.765 W097 08.633
N49 49.122 W097 09.061
N49 49.214 W097 08.626
N49 49.327 W097 08.699
S00 31.662 E166 56.986
N49 49.715 W097 08.330
N49 49.376 W097 08.302
N49 49.603 W097 09.162
N49 49.495 W097 08.178
N49 49.665 W097 08.783
N49 49.599 W097 08.390

Or... if you can't succeed in making the string figure, do not wish to attempt, or are otherwise unable to solve the puzzle... you can always visit every single location an hope to find the cache by way of brute force. It WILL be hidden however, for this is the way of Zebeth.

I have personally visited almost every coordinate to confirm that it would be a plausible location that a small-sized cache would be capable of being placed... JUST to make sure it's difficult, if not impossible, to completely disregard some of the possible locations.
Original contents are:
Logbook, pencil, and a sharpener
Rubber chicken
Blue bouncy ball
Toy car
chainmaille ball
FTF prize (handmade stainless steel chainmaille bracelet) & certificate

My fourth cache, and my first puzzle, which I hope you enjoy toying with. I love string figures, and hopefully some people may have a greater appreciation for the art form after completing the puzzle. If anyone wishes, they can also contact me for instructions or help with the other string figures shown. Final note/warning though... if your name isn't in the logbook, it isn't on the website :P. The logbook pages can be seen over here, updated whenever I'm able. Also, please refrain from posting ANY spoilers, be it implying which option the cache is located at, or even which it is NOT located at (except perhaps the kitty-cat one). If any spoilers are posted, I'll be deleting the log immediately, and will email you a copy of it, requesting that you repost after making some changes I'll inform you about.
Sorry... I just really want people to try making string figures :).
Additional Hints
Hfr n fgevat gjb zrgref ybat Decryption Key

(letter above equals below,
and vice versa)

What can YOU do with a string?
The starting position... a simple loop, going across your palms and going around your pinky fingers and thumbs. Also known as "Position 1".
Definitions you may find useful
Here's a picture (taken with much difficulty, for the record) of the names of the strings you will see in the instructions. You may find this useful in attempting to follow along.
Group 1, letters A to F
The string figures known as "Arm Shell", "Catching Kingfish", "Six Diamonds", "Cave Opening", "Banana Tree", and "Broom".
Group 2, letters G to L
The string figures known as "Two Diamonds", "Star", "Small House", "Small Fish", "Eight Diamonds", and "Binary Star".
Group 3, letters M to R
The string figures known as "Apache Door", "Cat's Cradle step 2", "All-Seeing Eye", "Four Diamonds", "Turtle", and "Destruction by Feline".
Group 4, letters S to X
The string figures known as "The Rock of Waondeli", "Jacob's Ladder", "Teacup", "Three Diamonds", "Many Stars", and "The Eye Exposed".

Click to visit the cache on
How the cache was built
View logbook:
Page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25.

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