The game you mentioned is called in Israel "Savta Soreget" (Knitting
Grandmother) and I just showed it to my daughter last week. I think I know
about 7 shapes before you get into a loop of repeating shapes.
The thread which dealt with the hand game of Yiddish
rhyming, pinching, and tickling brings to mind the game my
grandmother taught us called (phonetically), "pisha
paysha", in which a string is tied, creating a circle. The
circle is tautly placed outside both upright hands which
face each other. Without recalling exactly how, I
remember shapes being created >from the string with a
finger >from each hand, each player taking a turn creating
a new geometric shape while easing the string off the
previous player's hands onto his/her own.