Cats Cradle
The finger method

'Cradles' are a branch of diabolo tricks where you create patterns with the string & have the diabolo spinning on top of it all or inside one of the windows. Here's how to make a cats cradle using your fingers.

First of all practise the trick without spinning the diabolo, you will need to kneel down as you near the end of the move. Put the diabolo on the string & let it sit on the floor in front of your toes. Lift the cup closest to you with one foot then perform an Unwrap & recapture (it doesn't matter which side), finish with the diabolo motionless on the floor & your arms crossed.

Uncross your arms & hold both handsticks in a cross shape in front of you with the tips pointing diagonally up. The handstick held by the arm on top must be in front of the one held by the arm on the bottom. The diabolo string will run from the tip of each handstick down to the diabolo passing very close to the opposite hand. Reach out with your middle &/or index fingers of both hands & grab hold of the length of string closest to that hand. Straighten your handsticks so that they are both pointing straight up vertically then gently pull the sticks apart sideways (let the diabolo just fall off at this point). Allow the string to run through your middle/index fingers but don't let go of it...


Ahem. You should see that the string forms a cross with a line underneath.

Now do it again & again until you can do it without thinking.

Now try it with a spinning diabolo, do a couple of Chinese Whips to get the diabolo spinning fast enough for you to weave the cradle. When learning this trick with a spinning diabolo you will be surprised how often you will run out of spin before you've formed the cradle. With practise though you can set the trick up in milliseconds.

Once you can form the cradle with spin to spare you can either let go of the string to return to your starting position, but for the true cats cradle you need to throw the diabolo from the bottom string & catch it on the top of the cross. To do this set up the cradle as before then tip the handsticks backwards or forwards until they are almost horizontal. Then throw the diabolo in front of or behind the crossed part of the string just as you would Throw the diabolo normally. That is by bringing your two hands (as opposed to the handsticks) together & quickly pulling them apart. The throw doesn't need to be spectacularly high. It just needs to go up far enough for you to bring the hand sticks back to vertical. Remember to cushion the diabolo to make the catch otherwise it will bounce around on top of the cross & possily come off. To exit the cradle simply let go of the string.

For extra bonus points try catching the diabolo inside one of the triangles formed by the length of the handstick & the crossing string. It's a pretty tight catch if you use a short length of string. Also note that if you try to exit with the diabolo caught in a triangle by letting go the diabolo will just fall to the floor. You can either throw the diabolo back out of the triangle or make a quick Recapture.

Surprise Cradle

Another variation is the surprise cradle. So called because you turn your back to the audience so they can't see what you're doing then turn back again catching the diabolo in a cradle (if done well that is).

Spin the diabolo then do a half turn to face away from the audience keeping the diabolo in front of you as you turn. As you turn the string crosses over. Uncross it as before, cross your sticks & grab the string to form the cradle. Throw the diabolo over your head, perform a quick half pirouette to face the audience again & catch the diabolo in the cradle. Marvel at the audience's amazement.

You can also create the Cats Cradle using the handsticks.