And did crayon rubs. And read Lord Peter Wimsey books. It was kind of a relaxing weekend, and I used the living room. The convenience of Klutz is nice—a very nice string, thick nylon tye-dyed and no knots came with the book. Right now I can do Jacob’s Ladder by heart, as well as Witch’s Broom and Cup and Saucer (and how to continue to Eiffel Tower, which is too easy, and the Star, which isn’t in the book but is here and not too difficult, even without clear pictures).
As I scoped the web for more string games and looked at book previews at Amazon.com and Google Books, I found that what matters the most with string game directions is clear illustrations and directions. Especially clear illustrations. Klutz is rather good at that kind of thing.
To the end of clear illustrations and directions, I discovered, after some hunting around, String Figure Studio. I completed Net to Koto to Hammock to Hair Clippers, but have yet to manage the intriguing Many Stars, especially since the latter can be manipulated into very different figures. However, the instructions here are the best I’ve found from the web at large.
At the moment, whenever I start to feel nervous or I want to stretch out a moment from a novel I do a Jacob’s ladder a couple of times. I often do this kind of short, secondary activity when novels reach climaxes as a sort of self-commercial-break, which is a little silly, but you so rarely get climaxes—after all, it is a climax. Best make the most of it, and it’s better than nail-biting. If I’m reading a great book, a la Acacia: The War with the Mein, I may end up playing something like 18 short games of solitaire throughout. The upcoming The Other Lands (Acacia) and Dance of Dragons ((Yes, leaving a negative review before the book is out is really damn stupid, but some people just are.)) (Song of Ice and Fire) will really help me work out some kinks in my string-fingering.
I got to look at Paper Fashions in person, although not My Style Studio (they’re two separate lines in Klutz). Paper Fashions seems really quite neat on its own, with stencils and a huge collection of colored patterned paper, so you literally can create—with scissors and paste and sequins and so on—some rather nice combinations.
And now I’m off to read more Lord Peter Wimsey.