Day 3 – Chapter 7 – Bears, Poodles, and Floppy-Eared Dogs

Woo hoo!  The pinch twist!

I love weaving, and I want to get really good at it. At Twist & Shout, I was working on something in the hall (my own private jam room since it was hard to get Olivia into the real one even with her ear protection. Somehow it took the charms of a 10 year old boy to get her in there.

Slipped into Dad mode there, where was I? Oh yes – weaving. A kind soul saw me struggling, and reminded me of something I learned, but forgot: use the pinch twist to stabilize a weave. It’s for holding, and changing directions.

Before anyone learns to weave, I would venture to guess their first pinch twist is for a one balloon teddy bear. Before I knew of Captain Visual’s book, or that you could make a carousel from latex, I had one of those cheap Waldenbooks paperbacks. And I learned the pinch twist as a teddy bear twist.

It was the night before my first gig. OK, before anyone yells at me, I don’t mean I booked a twisting gig with no experience. I was doing magic for a daycamp for our church, and we had a bounce house donated for the day, my wife was painting faces, and I thought – hey don’t I have a balloon book around here somewhere? I learned that night, a sword, dog, one crazy hat, and the teddy bear. If you’re an experienced twister, think back to when you first learned to twist. You learn the lock and fold twists first, then, the most versatile twist you’ll ever have: the pinch twist. If it were guitar playing, it would be the barre chord.

So here are my teddy bears from chapter 6, as shown in the book. I must say that the Captain does a really good job of describing in print, what a pinch twist is. When I first learned, it took a long time to understand the text, and I had no video. If I had had this book first, I would have not struggled so much.

lTeddy Bears

Look at them. Simple as can be, but when you’re starting out, that face from the ear twists becomes a major stepping stone in your ability to make a latex tube of air look like something else.

Next up is the poodle, which while not including a pinch twist, does advance the student with a couple examples of multiple bubbles staying distinct while unlocked. The extra balls on the feet give more detail to the poodle.


The rest of the chapter, interestingly enough, does not include any more figures with pinch twists. It does however, include the most frustrating move/twist I’ve seen, and I am half embarrassed to say that this still gives me trouble. It’s the flop-eared dog. Where the captain gave excellent instructions on the pinch twist, I myself could have used more explanation on the following page on what it takes to get the effect. The first picture is a white-on-white dog that was a terrible attempt on my part.

Bad Little Doggie

I struggled with several balloons, trying to get the face to come through the ears without pointing upward like a standard dog. I can’t get this right. This is a similar technique to the nose poking through the bear face, I think. This makes it a logical extension of the chapter. but without some anchoring pinch twists, I am lost. Here’s the best I could do in a red dog.

Flop-eared dog, looking lame

Still, the face points upward. I know the captain is reading here sometimes, and I would love if he or anyone else would leave a comment on how to get this flop eared dog look right.

The above two dogs also introduce the sitting figure concept, with the same technique of bringing the balloon around the animal to create the effect. This yields a three legged animal, which may explain why it needs to sit. 😉

Sitting Cat

Sitting Rabbit

It should be obvious that I think every twister should have this book to begin a twisting education. It’s a must-have. I will also from time to time on this blog mention other resources I absolutely love. Not a comprehensive list of every twisting book/cd/dvd in existence, but stuff I’ve bought as a newbie and found great stuff in.

Today I made a helicopter for my son from a new resource. It’s been out less than a couple weeks. Thelma Levett is a twister in the UK who puts out really well-made ebooks. In the video-centric world of instructionals, I have to say I may now prefer the e-book if they’re all this good. Instead of pausing and backing up a video, I have the pictures right in front of me on my own timeline. Her new e-book “Something for Everyone” is aptly named, with material from a tnak and huge detailed bicycle, to a great toadstool and fairy. Her book can be found at . Here’s my son Jack enjoying a new helicopter.

Jack and Helicopter

And here it is by itself

My Helicopter a la Thelma

My Helicopter a la Thelm

(Later edit – I realize this helicopter is sideways. I fixed that, and added the rotor tops that were missing in this picture.)

Next Chapter: 8 – roll through bodies



2 Responses to “Day 3 – Chapter 7 – Bears, Poodles, and Floppy-Eared Dogs”

  1. Sonia Says:

    In regards to your floppy-eared doggie, I thought I might be able to offer a solution….

    I find that when I want to achieve this effect, I turn the head upside down so the ears are pointing the opposite direction, and then ease the face of the dog between the ears. This would result in appearing like your red doggie… but if you then ease the neck bubble into the ears it should get you the floppy effect. Try to make the amount of the face and neck bubbles pretty much the same.

    Hopefully that works for you! I’d love to know if so 😀

  2. Nikolett Says:

    Hi there,
    In the floppy ear dog use the neck to point the head down, just roll the neck through the ears like you did the head… I bet you figured it already…

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