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Making a Matchbox Loom for Matchbox Weaving… Try It

Crochet October 2, 2017

If you are like me, you add hobbies to your list like you’ve got an unlimited bank account and a store full of goodies. The only problem is, hobbies get bigger, or more expensive, or more time-consuming. Unless you find smaller, cheaper hobbies, but those are usually the ones we start with, intending to work up to something bigger.

I’ve always wanted to try weaving. I have a friend who has a small loom and sells her weaving projects, which is a great way to keep your craft area free of finished projects you can’t decorate with because you’ve got too little space as it is without adding an extra three to fifteen hangings to the walls.

For myself, however, I wanted to really scale down and learn something I could do on the go, in the car, or whenever I had a few minutes while waiting at the doctor’s office or when taking lunch. Then the matchbox loom came along and I fell in love.

What is cuter than a tiny matchbox? It can do so many things besides hold matches. It can house tiny toys, you can put them together to make a miniature dollhouse, or in this case, you can make a loom which you can use to create mini wall hangings for a dollhouse — or you can make your own jewelry (mini hangings make great statement pieces as earrings and necklaces).

Of course if you don’t want to go that small, you can always try the small loom tutorial by Fall for DIY, who used a small piece of wood, nails, a hammer, cord, embroidery thread, a tapestry needle, and a crochet hook to create a small handheld loom that, while it might not be exactly “on-the-go” ready, it can be packed in a bag and taken on overnight or weekend trips if you want to get some weaving done (weaving is relaxing too, once you get the hang of it, so if you’re going on a business trip or a family reunion and you begin to feel a little stressed or anxious, pull out the loom and work for a few minutes).

There are many ways to make the loom to your liking, including different shapes (rectangle, square, or diamond, for instance), different materials (from matchbox to pizza box), and weaving materials such as leather, ribbon, fabric, thread, or yarn. It’s up to you what size and shape you want your loom to be, and when weaving, just be sure that whatever materials you are using are appropriate for the size of your loom. You want your weaving to be tight enough that it won’t come loose after being taken off the loom.

Does this sound like something you’d enjoy doing? You can make your own loom using the tutorial from Fall for DIY, or you can take a peek at how a loom works to gain some understanding before you build over at From This Cloth. You can also look at Marisa Ramirez’s photo to see how her matchbox loom came together. Whichever way you choose to go, weaving is a great skill to learn, and has multiple uses. Happy weaving!

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Make a Bird House from PVC

Crafts October 1, 2017

Make a Bird House from PVC

PVC is one of those materials that, like duct tape, that can be used for so many more things than the original intended purpose. I’ve seen PVC used for everything from cosplay to birdhouses. PVC is a strong material, easy to work with, and a hardy product that can withstand plenty of hard knocks and bad weather. If you love birds and want a fun weekend project, you can try this PVC birdhouse – simple, inexpensive (provided you have the right tools, or know where to borrow them from), and really cool.

One of the perks about making this birdhouse from PVC is that you can match the color to your house, although of course you don’t have to. If you want, you can make the birdhouse in any color. Just be sure that the paint and PVC will adhere to each other (also, make sure the paint is weatherproof). If you’re going for the matched look, however, the nest will be safer, as it is better camouflaged.

Another perk is that you can probably find the materials for free – there are plenty of people who always have extra PVC handy, and might be interested in some sort of trade. If you get to use their tools, you just make an extra birdhouse and return the tools along with a birdhouse as a gift. The birdhouse is easy to install too, whether you hang it on the porch, put it in a tree, or attach it to your house underneath the roof.

Before you begin the birdhouse, you’ll want to measure and cut the pieces to fit. Using a permanent marker is preferable, and you can sand off the markings once the cut has been made. Then you can spray paint the pieces in whatever color you choose. After that, you’ll need to use some very strong glue to attach the pieces. Allow them to dry in a garage or outside for a while to solidify the bond. That’s really the entire process. You can make a few birdhouses at the same time without adding a lot of extra time. These would make great presents for the bird watchers in your life.

Now of course, if you don’t have the tools or the materials, but you’d still like to have one of these birdhouses, you can find them for sale on places like Etsy. They’re available in multiple colors, and for a great price. We found a seller who had multiple options for sale for $20. Even if you aren’t a crafty person, you can still enjoy the craft that someone else made. It takes all kinds, as they say.

If you don’t like this particular design but still want to make a birdhouse out of PVC, there are several tutorials with differently shaped birdhouses that you might prefer. Whether you want a written tutorial with photos, or a video tutorial, there are plenty of options available.

Does this sound like something you’d enjoy doing this weekend? If so, you can shop Cedarhill Woodshed on Etsy to purchase your own birdhouse, or you can find a written tutorial with excellent photos at DIY Network. And if you’d rather watch someone put a few together, you can watch DIY Easy Crafts on YouTube.

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Knitted Hanging Kitchen Towels

Crochet September 8, 2017

Knitted Hanging Kitchen Towels

I don’t know about you, but I can never find kitchen towels I actually like – they’re either cheap, poor quality, or don’t fit with the rest of my kitchen. I’ve searched high and low for a quality, mid-price range kitchen towel and have come out empty-handed time and again. That’s where crafting can come in handy. If you can’t find the item you want, you figure out how to make it for yourself – and then if you’re a bit of an entrepreneur, you start selling them to other people who have been looking for the same thing.

If you’ve also been looking for just the right kitchen towels, we’ve found these easily customized, knitted dish towel patterns that you can try. You can make them in plain colors (all neutrals, or bold colors, royal colors, or natural if you so desire), stripes, plaids, or houndstooth. You could even embroider on them afterwards if you wanted to have them monogrammed or put a simple icon on them that ties into your kitchen’s theme and decor (farmyard animals, fruits, vegetables, birds, and butterflies are all excellent choices).

To make these dish towels, you will need to gather the following materials: about one and a half skeins of cotton yarn (one of the patterns recommends using Sugar and Cream, while the other suggests dish cotton and acrylic yarn), knitting needles (size 7 is listed in one of the patterns, but as long as your gauge creates a tight knit, you’re free to use whatever size needle you want), scissors, a needle and thread (make sure the color at least corresponds or complements the yarn color(s) being used), and a button.

You’ll also need to know how to knit and purl, which are the basic knitting stitches – if you’ve never knitted anything before, there are plenty of YouTube video tutorials that will walk you through the steps. You will also need to know the stockinette stitch, garter stitch, slip, knit on the wrong side, and finally, how to decrease. Again, a walkthrough tutorial of these stitches can be found many places online, but the best place to see this done is YouTube – unless there’s a knitting website you prefer.

While this may take a little longer than the average shorter project, say, a scarf, this dish towel will be around for a long time, making it well worth the effort to create. As they are made from cotton, they can be easily washed, tossed in the washer and then dryer without fear of being shrunk or felted (this is why you should not use wool for projects unless you have a specific reason for doing so, such as making a felted bag or hat).

Would you like to try out these beautiful dish towels and see them accent your kitchen? You can find both patterns for free from either Knitting Paradise or A Wooden Nest – Knitting Paradise is a crochet and knitting forum where you can ask questions and post patterns, so you may want to join if you enjoyed this project. You can search through A Wooden Nest’s tags for other free patterns as well.

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Crochet Moccasins

Crochet September 8, 2017

Crochet Mocassins

While slippers are cozy year round (except perhaps summer, depending on where you live), sometimes you need a thicker, warmer, sturdier pair of shoes to wear around the house during the coldest months. That’s where these crochet moccasins come in handy. They’re durable, fashionable, and a project you can use to bust your yarn stash. What’s not to love?

These moccasins can be dressed up or dressed down as much as you please. If you prefer a simple moccasin, you can forego the fringe and leave them as is – or you can spruce them up with fringe, beads, ribbon, buttons, or even sequins. It’s up to you to decorate them however you like, and if you’re going to wear them around the house, they  might as well be fabulous, right?

If you want the pattern posted here, you can find it for purchase on Ravelry for a small sum (USD). You’ll need a DK (11 wpi) size yarn and a 5.5 (size “I”) crochet hook, with a gauge of six stitches and six rows equaling two inches (in single crochet). The good thing about this pattern is that it’s adjustable to every adult size – you simply tailor it as you go in order to make sure they’re the perfect fit. You can also crochet them a bit larger if you want to wear thick socks with them (this is especially nice if you have wooden floors and need a few layers between cool ground and cold feet).

There are some free patterns as well, like the crochet moccasins with flip-flop soles from the Make & Do Crew. You can purchase an ad-free pattern for a small fee, but there are also a written pattern and a video tutorial on the page that are available for free. To make these, you’ll need cotton yarn (the pattern suggests using Lion Brand 24/7), flip-flop soles, stitch markers, a tapestry needle, a sewing needle, a size 3.5mm and size 2.5mm crochet hook, a sharp object like an skewer, leather laces, scissors, monofilament (fishing line), and seed beads, if you’re going to decorate the shoes after you’ve crocheted yourself a pair.

You’ll need to know the following stitches for the project: single crochet (sc), skip (sk), and slip stitch (sl st). There are also other abbreviations in the pattern that are explained before the written instructions continue. If you want to check your gauge, you can crochet a swatch and then see if it measures eight stitches, seven rows to one inch.

Whichever pattern you choose, the end result is the same – a pair of lovely, cozy slippers that will be sturdy enough for you to walk out and get the morning paper, and soft and warm enough to keep your feet deliciously comfy all morning (or day, if you want).

If you want to purchase the pattern from Umme Yusuf, you can do so from Ravelry. If you’d rather watch the video tutorial and read the free written pattern tutorial, you can find all of that (as well as the for-purchase, ad-free pattern) at the Make & Do Crew site.

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Crochet or Knit a Tawashi Scrubber with Crochet Scraps, and Clean the House (Free Pattern)

Crochet September 8, 2017

Do you ever get the feeling that you’re repeating the same pattern with your days, over and over, never doing anything new? While household chores seem to be one of those things that make us feel like we’re in the film Groundhog Day, it’s helpful to think of it as less of a circle and more like a spiral. There are tiny differences each time, depending on what happened previously – cleaning up after a party is different than cleaning up after a quiet dinner party or an evening of babysitting kids.

Sometimes it helps to also bring in something new to the loop. Like this Tawashi Scrubber, which uses crochet scraps to become one of the most handy, practical, and colorful items in your house cleaning kit. What can I say? Cleaning is more fun with colors. Of course, you could go all out and belt out some Disney tunes while you scrub with your rainbow Tawashi and pretend that you’re Cinderella, but maybe that’s just me.

If you want to make one of these for yourself (or a couple dozen to keep around the house – I wouldn’t necessarily recommend this as a gift for friends or family as they make take it the wrong way so unless they ask for one, maybe keep these for yourself), you’ll need the following materials: worsted weight yarn (the pattern recommends acrylic for a stronger scrub, but if this is going to be used as a shower scrub, you may want to switch to cotton as it works better for sensitive skin), knitting needles (size 7 or 8), and scissors. You’ll need to know how to knit and purl, and whether or not you use a contrast color is up to you, though of course it is fun to experiment with various colors or even a variegated yarn.

If you’d rather crochet the scrubber, you’ll need worsted weight acrylic yarn and a size “H” crochet hook. You’ll need to know how to chain (ch), single crochet (sc), back loop only (blo), and crochet two together (2tog) as well, though of course these stitches will be familiar to most crocheters. A note on the crochet pattern says that there is a bit of construction to do after completing the crochet part, and involves weaving the ends in and out until you can pull everything tightly together and knot it to resemble the photo. This isn’t too difficult and should only take a few tries.

Want to add a few of these cuties to your cleaning kit? You can find the knitting pattern from Shh, I’m Counting! on their Ravelry page, where the pattern is available as a free download. If you like this pattern you might want to check out the others posted. If you’d rather crochet yourself a scrub, you fan find it at the Crochet Patterns Only blog, which provides both a written tutorial and a video tutorial (the link sends you to YouTube). If you like that one, there are a few blog links on the side to other free patterns which you can check out.

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Crochet Earrings

Crochet August 30, 2017

Do you ever wonder if there are more applications for crochet than the typical baby blanket, beanie, or scarf? What about small projects that take little time but present a challenge to any level of crocheter? Well, you’re in luck, because we’ve found the perfect project – these crochet earrings (which are available as free patterns)! These delicate little beauties come in all shapes and sizes, from geometric patterns to flowers, and can be used for a variety of purposes apart from earrings – you can use them to embellish other projects such as beanies, bags, and keychains, you can string them together for a garland, or you can use them for other jewelry like necklaces, bracelets, or rings.

No matter how you intend to use them, you’ll need the following items to complete this project: crochet thread, a crochet hook (make sure the thread and hook will create the correct gauge), scissors, earring hooks, and wheels (or whatever shape you’re going for – look for metal jewelry bases). Of course you can modify this if you’re making these for other projects – or even if you want a different shape of earring. You can make your own wheels, triangles, diamonds, rectangles, or spheres. Just test everything out before you commit to making a ton of these.

You will need to know basic crochet stitches – chain (ch), single crochet (sc), double crochet (dc), and slip stitch (sl st). These stitches should all be known to every crocheter, whether beginner or advanced. Some earrings will also require the use of a ring or magic ring, so be aware you might have to learn how to do that if you haven’t done so already – there are, of course, plenty of tutorials online in video or written format.

Don’t be afraid to put your own spin on these earrings either – there are a ton of ways to tailor them to yourself, with color, stitch pattern (you don’t have to stick to the basic stitches, you can use your favorites, like the puff stitch or a half double crochet), and size. If you prefer smaller earrings, purchase smaller hoops. If you like long earrings, forego the hoops and make tassel-style earrings. It’s up to you to decide how you want to make these.

Of course, when you do make them, you might get asked to make them for your friends and family. They make great gifts for birthdays, holidays, graduations, and other special occasions. You could also sell these at craft fairs, farmer’s markets, art bazaars, and the like.

The free patterns we found include both charts (several in case you decide you want to try different shapes or make them in different sizes, though of course you can create your own versions easily once you’ve seen the chart – you could even try writing out your own charts) and written instructions, so whichever you prefer, you can follow along without any trouble. If this sounds like something you’d enjoy making, you can find all the free patterns at BlogLovin and Haken Maysoondo Site. If you make up your own pattern, be sure and share so the rest of us can see your handiwork.

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Crochet Ring (Free Pattern)

Crochet August 30, 2017

Crochet Ring (Free Pattern)

Tired of having to buy expensive jewelry that cracks, chips, dents, or tarnishes? Thinking of making your own but don’t have a forge, drills, pliers, or metal? Never fear – you can show off your softer side with a slew of these crocheted rings. This free pattern from Fave Crafts is the perfect accessory – doesn’t take long, and it comes in any color you choose!

There are several great things about crocheted jewelry – it travels well (doesn’t get bent, scratched, or smashed, can be tucked safely in a pocket or bag), it’s inexpensive (you can have one for every day of the week, or month even), and it’s a great stash-buster – what’s not to love?

If you end up with a dozen or more of these, they make great presents for friends and family, as holiday or birthday presents. You can use their favorite colors and adorn the rings with other bits and bobs to make them truly unique. One of the best ways to do this is with ribbon, but you can also use beads and sequins. Be sure and try out several methods and additions so you can find the right fit for you.

And if you don’t want crochet rings but love this pattern, you can use them for plenty of other things – as napkin rings, a garland, Christmas ornaments, embellishments on hats, scarves, and bags, or an addition to your keychain. You could use them to identify your water bottle or wine glass, use them as gift tags, or scatter them on a table as part of a theme dinner party (if you did pastel colors they’d make a great addition to an Easter dinner, for example).

Want to make one of these? You’ll need the following: one skein of crochet thread (the pattern recommends using Aunt Lydia’s Fashion Crochet Thread in Silver), Size “D” crochet hook, scissors, a stitch marker, and a sewing needle. Of course, you can make the first ring with crochet thread and then try out different materials, such as jewelry wrapping wire, ribbon, or embroidery thread.

You’ll need to know some beginner stitches as well as the cluster stitch and the picot stitch – the pattern calls for chain (ch), double crochet (dc), slip stitch (sl st), and single crochet (sc). Just remember to use your stitch marker so you don’t get stuck counting and then lose your stitches when you try to figure out where you left off.

If you like this pattern and want access to eBooks, free patterns, tutorials, and more, you can sign up to receive Fave Craft’s newsletters. The site features a giveaway, a craft store, craft videos, and collections. You can also submit your own projects to be featured on the site. There are other crafts in addition to crochet, so if you’re one of those people that likes various and sundry types of artistic endeavors, you might want to join the fun on this site and get to making even more pretty things to decorate yourself and your home.

Sound fun? If this is something you’d love to do, grab the free pattern from Fave Crafts, make a few of these rings, and then marvel at your delicate new fashion accessories.

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Super Easy Knotted Bracelet

Crochet August 30, 2017

Tired of the same old bracelet patterns? Have a million (or three) friendship bracelets? If you’ve braided, crocheted, or knitted too many bracelets to count but still want to stash-bust and make some cute jewelry, you might be interested in this unique macrame bracelet that uses multiple colors to achieve a fun, zany look.

What I love about this super easy knotted bracelet is that it uses macrame as well as multiple colors. Many people are familiar with macrame but most have only used it with hemp or a single color. This pattern uses a trio of colored yarns and various macrame knots to make this bracelet pop.

Although there isn’t a written out tutorial for this pattern, the photos are good quality and provide a clear map for the bracelet. Of course, it doesn’t have to be used as a bracelet – other uses for this technique include bookmarks, keychains, anklets, necklaces, napkin rings, and accessories for dress-up, cosplay, and stuffed animals. Use your imagination and come up with other uses for this technique – it would also look great as an addition to other handmade clothing items (think borders and accents).

You don’t have to stick to the color scheme shown either, although it might be easier at first to do so since there are no written instructions. Once you get the hang of it, you can try other colors, such as holiday colors (black, orange, and grey for Halloween, red, green, and gold for Christmas, red, white, and blue for Independence Day, etc.), sports team colors (either for your kids’ high school team, your alumni team, or your favorite professional sports team), or rainbow colors, your favorite colors, etc. The possibilities are endless.

Yarn doesn’t have to be the main material either – you can use anything from ribbon to leather to chain (old jewelry chains look very cool), or you can mix and match and make a mixed media version of this knotted bracelet. These sorts of items also do well at craft fairs, bazaars, and markets, so if you’re up for making several dozen of these, you could try and make a little side money from this inexpensive craft (be sure and price things beforehand, however – do some research and see what these types of bracelets go for locally as well as online – you don’t want to lowball and make other artists upset, but you don’t want to charge so much that you don’t sell any of them).

These easy knotted bracelets also make great gifts for family members, friends and colleagues. They’re great for stocking stuffers, no-occasion presents, and summer activities for the kids. With how versatile these bracelets are, you might want to pull the materials out several times a year and make your own collection.

If this is something you’d like to try, you can look at the photo tutorials (there are three sets) on We Heart It from Noe Juarez – if you like her entries, you can follow her on We Heart It and see what other photo tutorials she has available. You can also search We Heart It for similar entries which may have written instructions or patterns available for purchase.

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Outdoor Lanterns: You Can Make These Easily

Crochet August 30, 2017

What does one do when a garden party comes together without the proper lighting? How is one supposed to see who’s sitting where and what you’re eating and if a bug has gotten in your drink? If you’ve run out of Tiki torches, citronella candles, or have one of those annoying outdoor lights that flash on as soon as someone moves, you might want to consider this option: the outdoor lantern. And these you can make easily all by yourself!

The nice thing about this project is that you can tailor it to your needs. Want one casual looking lantern for a night sitting around the fire pit? You can try the Fishnet Wrapped Mason Jar. Need a few lanterns to light the way to the outdoor dinner party? You can try the Sisal Rope Bowls or the Macrame Hanging Lanterns. These can also be made with a variety of colors and materials.

Basically, all you need are glass jars or bowls (mason jars are popular, as are small bowls from the dollar store), candles (tee lights, short candles, or pre-used candles you need to get rid of – it’s really up to you), fiber (rope, cord, and chunky yarn are popular choices), scissors, and whatever you want to use to decorate the lanterns – you can fill the bowls with water and place tee lights inside (they make great centerpieces), you can use sand and shells for a nautical theme, you can use pebbles collected from various travels, or marbles, popcorn kernels, rice, beans, buttons, beads, etc. It all depends on your theme.

Another bonus about this project is that it’s cheap to make – everything you need to make it can be found at the local dollar or thrift store. You can also visit the craft store or the local grocery store to find the mason jars. Another way to cut costs is to scavenge amongst your craft supplies or outdoors to find things to fill the jars. You could even ask friends and family if they’d be willing to donate materials – as a thank you, you can provide them with their own lantern.

Once you’ve gathered your materials, it’s a simple, quick trick to wrap the jars or bowls. If you know macrame, you’ll have an easy way to glam the lantern up, but even if you don’t, not to worry – you can wrap the lanterns in rope and call it a day. You can also look at various tutorials and figure out your own way to wrap – you aren’t limited to just rope or cord – you can use fabric, chain, or leather to achieve your preferred look.

Want to try making your own fleet of cool summer DIY lanterns? You can find simple tutorials at the following websites: Poppy Talk has an outdoor lantern post, while Centsational Girl has a rope bowl tutorial if you prefer centerpieces. Brit has a DIY macrame hanger that you can use for lanterns, and Craft Creativity has another macrame hanger tutorial on their BlogLovin site, as does Pop Sugar. If you want a nautical themed lantern, you can try It All Started With Paint’s fishnet wrapped mason jar.

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Crochet Summer Hat (Free Tutorial)

Crochet August 26, 2017

Crochet Summer Hat (Free Tutorial)

When it’s hot and sunny outside and you want to soak up some sun without worrying about getting wrinkles on your face, you grab a big, floppy hat. If you don’t yet have a floppy hat, never fear – you can make yourself one with this free crochet summer hat tutorial. Whether you prefer to watch a video tutorial on YouTube or read up on the written instructions, InterUnet has you covered.

While the project may look a bit intimidating, this summer hat pattern is easy, and while it does require shaping, the effect is easy to recreate using a fabric stiffener. The rest of the materials you will need are yarn (the pattern suggests using Aunt Lydia’s crochet thread, Fashion 3, weight 1, super fine, and you’ll need about 2 1/2 skeins, whether you decide to use one color, two, or more), and a crochet hook (the pattern suggests using a 2.75mm, but it will depend on whether you use the yarn suggested or decide to try something more hardy).

If you care about gauge, the pattern gives the following guide: 21 double crochet stitches should equal about 4 inches, or 10 centimeters. Of course, you may want to do a little extra math and measure your head and then try out your own gauge. If you decide to go with a different fiber for the floppy hat, you could try using bamboo, cord, or even plastic. When going your own route, however, you will want to keep checking the fit and stiffness of the hat as you go to ensure that it will work for you.

The stitches used in the pattern include a foundation chain, slip stitch (sl st), single crochet (sc), double crochet (dc), increase (inc), and chain (ch). All of these should be familiar to crocheters whether they’re beginners or more advanced, but if you feel the need to brush up on your stitch repertoire, there are plenty of places to do so online.

The hat begins with an increase in each round and is only 32 rounds total, making this a project that will work up quickly – you can also decrease the time spent on the hat if you use thicker yarn and a larger crochet hook. To that end you can simply use one color of yarn and forego the embellishments, such as the flower (If you do want some type of addition you can always use buttons, ribbon, lace, or fake flowers to adorn your summer hat).

If this looks like the hat for you, you can choose how you want to access the pattern, whether you prefer a chart, written instructions, or a video tutorial. All of them are available through the Interunet site. Also, if you find yourself stuck on a part of the pattern, you can comment on the page and the author will answer (there are already a few such question-and-answer entries in the comment section so be sure to read those before posting your own question). If you like Interunet, you can visit their website for other patterns – there’s an “Explore” button and a search engine specific to the site that will allow you to look for other patterns.

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