Knitting Feeds

Surprise!

Yarn Harlot - Wed, 05/10/2017 - 20:02

That’s what a friend said when I texted them this picture:

It’s a sweet little BSJ, knit out of my handspun, seen here doing the manta ray impression this sweater always does, right before it’s folded like origami, and presto-chango, you have a sweater.

It’s a trick I’ve always rather liked, and beyond being a fancy party trick for a knitter, they fit pretty well too.  My copy of the pattern is from The Opinionated Knitter (there’s a title that’s always resonated rather well – and there’s so much to love in that one) but there’s a new book out  – The Complete Surprise, that gives me mixed feelings.

I’ve always been completely been entirely satisfied by this pattern in its original incarnation (I love working from Elizabeth Zimmermann’s handwriting. It makes me feel proper as a knitter) and I’ve never felt the need to alter a single stitch from the way she wrote it (except that’s a lie, I only do the buttonholes on one side, no matter what flavour baby presents – on account of my feelings about buttonholes) but this new book?

An urge to knit a baby surprise suit is suddenly born within me.

After I finish these booties. (I swear they are booties. There’s just a lot of sewing to be done. Then he’ll be a perfect wee pirate.)

Categories: Knitting Feeds

In the Pink

Knitting | Work in Progress - Wed, 05/10/2017 - 10:30
At one time, I had a fair amount of pink yarn safely ensconced in stash. Some still remains, but as I was casting on a quick pair of mitts destined for the ombres and gradient series, I realized how limited my current options had become.

Naturally, I began to wonder what had happened to all those pink, rose and fuchsia skeins, and this is what I discovered.


ACCESSORIES

Colsie Mitts Rose Gradient

Dojeling Blackberry




AFGHANS

Breidan Baby


Breidan Berry



Color Check



Drumlin Bright



Lucben Rose



Tikkyn Rainbow



Rainbow Vivid



HEARTH & HOME

Graefen Bright


Sweet Hearts & Soft Spots



That's a fairly respectable lineup, and there are even more examples for which I don't have photos. They range from countless charity hats, scarves and blanket squares to coasters, cloths and a lovely rose gradient sweater for my dog, Stella, which I managed to shrink in the wash, so it's long gone.

Back to the present day. Longer than I care to admit, I've been struggling to find a suitable project for this lovely assortment of wool-silk lace weight and rayon metallic yarn.



I've come up with yet another plan, and if it works, I'll once again be in the pink.


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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Modification Monday: Bronze Age & Steel Rails Cardigan

Knitted Bliss - Mon, 05/08/2017 - 11:00

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Original Patterns: Gramps and Hay Cove Knitter Extraordinaire: Coryna (Ravelry ID, blog) Mods: Combined the Gramps Cardigan and Hay Cove cardigans into one, and used her own hand-dyed yarn for some of it! Details can be found on her project page, here. What Makes This Awesome: Coryna planned to make Hay Cove, but decided to then incorporate

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Slow motion knitting...

My Sister's Knitter - Sun, 05/07/2017 - 16:44
Happy Sunday! Hello there! How was your week? Did it feel like eternity like mine or was it just right? Maybe mine felt like eternity because everything I have done in the last week has felt like it has been going at a snail's pace. Then again, I can just... Andi
Categories: Knitting Feeds

mini-craftcation

Autumn Geisha - Sun, 05/07/2017 - 15:06
Happy May everyone! I hope that it's starting out bright and sunny for you. I had a little mini-craftcation this past week and was able to finish some longstanding WIP's. Just have to block and take some pics. The weather has been sunny and warm so we've been hanging out at one of our favorite local beaches, Matapeake Beach which is free and opened to the public. Care to take a peak?

this is the fabulous clubhouse
and here's the view of the Chesapeake Bay heading towards the beach
and here's my new blanket obsession & constant beach knitting companion

Now I know why these scrappy sock mitered square blankets are all the rage. They are totally addictive and fun to knit on! It's also nice to have an easy, relaxing and long-term project on the needles to pick up when the mood strikes. This weekend is Maryland Sheep and Wool which I'm bummed to have to miss. I had to work yesterday and we have last minute out of town guests coming today. On the bright side, I'll have more time to knit on my new blanket :) Have a great Sunday!
Categories: Knitting Feeds

FO | Plumberry Gradient Mitts & Scarf

Knitting | Work in Progress - Sun, 05/07/2017 - 12:30
Recently, I wrote about how odd it may seem to still be wallowing in wool now that spring has arrived, but what can I say? It's part practicality and part pleasure.

This past week is a good example. It's been decidedly chilly with temps falling into the 30s and high winds to make it feel even colder, so working with and wearing wool was the only smart thing to do.
Now that the rainbow afghan is off the needles, it was time to tackle smaller projects that deserved some attention. These fingerless mitts, for instance, feature yarn so light and luscious, it's a true joy to knit and a joy to wear. Technically, I suppose it's not classified as wool since it's a blend of cashmere and silk, but let's not nitpick.



As simple as they are, these mitts represent that elusive achievement, the knitting trifecta. They:
  • Are made with shrine of precious yarn, which I've vowed to knit with this year. (I buy it because it's scrumptious, then it lingers in stash because it's too delectable to knit.) 
  • Illustrate a six-stage gradient.
  • Complement my beloved Plumberry scarf and turn a lone accessory into a coordinated set.

Plumberry was featured in How to Create a 3-Stage Gradient, but somehow it never made it into an FO post, so let's give it one moment in the spotlight:


Both the scarf and mitts are fully reversible, but because they feature different gradients and slipped stitches, they don't match. This was a conscious choice and overall I think the look works.  In view of our cool, rainy weather, I may have a chance to test that premise before they're packed away for summer.



Plumberry Gradient Mitts & Scarf
Patterns: In development
Yarn: Richesse et Soie (Knit1 Crochet 2)
Weight: Fingering
Needles: US 7 (4.5 mm)
Mitts: ~95 yards
Scarf: ~300 yards

Meanwhile, there are several patterns in development, two new afghans in the works and countless concept swatches on the needles, so the choice is obvious: Focus and finish, right?

Well, that would be the mature, disciplined thing to do. Instead, because shawls and mitts are getting such a workout, my rebellious inner knitter keeps whispering we need another shawl ... and more mitts!

So, I'm going to ignore what may be the subtle signs of startitis, cast on a shawl and focus on the fact that shawls and mitts are the ideal way to turn shrine of precious yarn into something pretty and practical. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it. 

What has your inner knitter been whispering in your ear?


Related
Mitt-Worthy Shawls & Wraps
Ombres & Gradients: 5 Ways to Create Your Own

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Something had to give

Yarn Harlot - Fri, 05/05/2017 - 23:05

This morning I got up and went downstairs to make the coffee, and I stood there looking around at the complete chaos, and decided that today is the day I am getting it together. Now, this isn’t an unfamiliar thing to say to myself. My trigger threshold for cleaning the house isn’t super high – I like a tidy house, and I like to be organized, but I’m still me, and that means that mostly I wish it was tidy, and knit while I think about that and things slip farther out of control,  but today I realized that I’ve got to get a grip.  This happens all the time. I go to bed pretty regularly having decided that when the sun shines again in the morning I’ll be a completely different person. One who manages her time well, and cleans up messes as soon as they happen and throws in loads of laundry a long time before they’re wearing weird outfits because they didn’t, and is miraculously able to answer all her email and never runs out of tea, and I’m used to the disappointment of still being me at the end of the next day, but this time I really meant it.

Then I went and knit for a while.  Then I went to snuggle the baby and (rather ironically) wash Meg’s dishes and fold her laundry.

I know what’s happened here. I’m spending about 15 hours a week “grandmothering” (as my own mother so lovingly calls it.) it involves buying nursing pads and dropping off dinners and holding the baby and answering texts about his tiny fingernails and the way he likes to suck in his bottom lip when he nurses, and going to and fro from our house to his, and there is absolutely zero chance I am not doing even one of those things. He’s only going to be tiny for a little while, and I can see no universe in which me wearing a shirt that doesn’t have baby puke on it is worth missing any of that.

Also, I have a job, and I like to knit, and I’m pretty committed to the Bike Rally Steering Committee and Joe’s working long hours and should be able to snuggle a baby if he has a minute and … so something had to give and it was cleaning up, or doing laundry, or organizing anything at all, and now we live in a pit. There is not a single room that is acceptable. My entire nod to cleanliness has been to hang up towels after we use them so that we can go a week without laundry, I unloaded and reloaded the dishwasher yesterday – and I think Joe gave the toilet a swipe and took out the compost. He must have, because it’s gone.  (I suppose it’s possible the cat ate it as a signal of neglect.) You would struggle to find a clear spot on the coffee table to put down a coffee, there’s yarn everywhere, and the house is littered with post-it notes that say things like “BUY SOAP” or “10 MINUTES LAUNDRY.” (They have had little effect.)

I thought about all of that while I worked on another sweater for Elliot.  Not that one pictured above, that one didn’t work out. I wanted to knit him a little Baby Surprise Jacket out of the leftovers from my cowl because it’s super soft and cozy, but the gauge was wrong and I don’t have enough and I was lying to myself for about 12 rows before I had to accept the truth.  I swished through the stash and found some stripey handspun I’ve been waiting to use, and now that’s on the needles.

Working out fine, I still might not have enough, but I’m going to worry about that later. Much later, because something’s got to give, and it’s me. I’m going to start with the kitchen. Maybe after one more row.

 

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Pin Ups and Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 05/05/2017 - 11:47

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My Favourite Articles and Links This Week If you read only one of these links, make it this one! It clearly explains why, no matter what our political affiliations or beliefs may be, it is extremely difficult to change our minds even when presented with well-researched and objective facts. Plus, it’s written like a comic and

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Turns out travel knitting is the right answer

Knitting to Stay Sane - Thu, 05/04/2017 - 20:18
Well friends, after a late winter phase of Not Loving My Knitting All That Much, I had been hoping that spending the last week of April travelling would give me the deadline I needed to finish things and then start new things for my trip. As it turns out, I did not finish the things […]
Categories: Knitting Feeds

Searchable

Knitting | Work in Progress - Thu, 05/04/2017 - 11:00
In theory this site is searchable, but in reality, sometimes the search function works and sometimes it doesn't. The Google overlords routinely change search algorithms, which often has a direct, surprising effect on the results even the simplest search will produce.
ALIEN PARASITE ANTIBODIES
(They also routinely alter formatting algorithms, so blog posts have an annoying interesting tendency to reformat themselves and suddenly appear different from one day to the next. But that's a topic for another day.)

Back to searchability. There are more than 300 blog posts on the Knitting | Work in Progress (KWIP) site, so if you're looking for something specific, here are some tips. 

If you want to:
  • Buy patterns, click on the Patterns tab (above).
  • Read about patterns, go to the Browse category in the sidebar, scroll down the list and click on Patterns.
  • Find a post about a particular topic, go to the Browse category in the sidebar, scroll through the list and click the appropriate tag, such as Ombres & Gradients.
  • Find an earlier blog post, use the Search box and enter a keyword, such as afghan, mitts, rainbow, etc.
  • Locate something specific, enter it in the Search box with quote marks, such as "Tikkyn afghan" or "Christmas trees" or "Might Could List."
  • Read a post from a particular timeframe, go to the Archive list in the sidebar, select the correct option and it will display everything posted that month, e.g., March 2017.
I'm evaluating the pros and cons of moving the blog to a different platform that offers more layout options, better search functionality and greater flexibility. Until that happens, I'm soldiering on here and hope the suggestions above will help make it easier for you to more quickly find what interests you.

If you have feedback or a specific search-related question, just let me know, and I'll do my best to address it.


Connecting with the linkups in the sidebar.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Mr Excitement

Yarn Harlot - Tue, 05/02/2017 - 22:26

It would seem that Elliot has taken to modelling knitwear as a duck takes to water. He’s absolutely a natural.

He remains sweet tempered and easygoing, thus making him more like his father than any McPhee alive.  He’s seen here wearing a simple little garter sweater I banged out for him, because it’s still very chilly here in Toronto, and I am helpless not to swath him in great bales of wool for fear that he’s ever even a little bit cool for even one moment.  You would think that I didn’t know about central heat, the way I’m acting.

Yarn: One yummy little skein of Meadowcroft Dyeworks Rockshelter worsted in a colour ironically named Skinny Dipping, which is the only thing that Elliot doesn’t like.  Knit up on 4mm needles (I faked the pattern) and embellished with three little porcelain buttons from Round Rabbit. They’re perfect.

When I finished that, I got out a Habu Jacket that I’ve been meaning to knit myself, but I’m not sure it’s going to take.  I think Elliot needs more bootees. Or a hat. Or maybe another sweater. He’s bigger every day, and I’m going to have trouble keeping up with him.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Modification Monday: My own Take on Sunshine

Knitted Bliss - Mon, 05/01/2017 - 11:00

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Original Pattern: Sunshine  Knitter Extraordinaire: Melinda (Ravelry ID) Mods: Changed out the lace placket at the neckline for a modified V-neck/shawl collar. Details can be found on Melinda’s project page, here. What Makes This Awesome: Melinda’s beautiful sweater is as much about process as a lovely finished result. She had seen a couple of modified versions of

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

FO | Not-So-Scrappy Rainbow

Knitting | Work in Progress - Sun, 04/30/2017 - 12:30
The last time you saw my not-so-scrappy rainbow scrapghan, it was something of a jumbled mess. I was weaving ends and the borders were curling like crazy.




Luckily, blocking worked its transformative power, and now the borders lie flat, the stitches have relaxed and the rumples have disappeared.




For me, this project was all about color, so I kept everything else quite simple, from the triangular banners to the crossed stockinette stitch that creates a subtle texture on the front and plush texture on the back.




The ever-growing pile of Cotton Fleece partials and leftovers from past projects made the yarn choice obvious. Picking the right mix of rainbow shades and placement was a challenge, so I spent many enjoyable hours auditioning different combinations, until I landed on this one:
  • Top row: Cherry Moon, Tropical Coral, Sunny Yellow
  • Middle row: Mint, New Age Teal, Caribbean Sea
  • Bottom row: Lapis, Raging Purple, Berry

To streamline colorwork and keep the project compact and portable, I used a strip strategy, then framed the piece with a plain, solid border. In these angled shots, the banner sizes and shapes seem to be different, but I assure you they're all the same size and shape.



Not-So-Scrappy Rainbow Afghan
Pattern: In development
Yarn: Cotton Fleece (Brown Sheep)
Needles: US 8 (5 mm), US 9 (5.5 mm)
Size: Small
Dimensions: 24 x 36 ins
Yardage: ~650 yards


I confess I'm rather taken with the end result, so I can't decide whether to put it into the afghan rotation or hang it on the wall for decoration. What do you think? 



Meanwhile, I'm eager to cast on another, and for better or worse, the stash holds plenty of partials and leftovers, so options abound. Undoubtedly, this will lead to countless hours playing with color combinations and arrangements, but for me, this is part of the pleasure of knitting.

Connecting with the linkups in the sidebar.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

April loves...

My Sister's Knitter - Sun, 04/30/2017 - 07:45
Happy Sunday! It would seem Spring is on everywhere including my knitting. My plan to knit 12 pairs of socks this year is coming along nicely and I could not be happier. Isn't it rather fun to see a stack of socks? There is just something about it. :) Pattern~... Andi
Categories: Knitting Feeds

Dateline – Toronto

Yarn Harlot - Fri, 04/28/2017 - 18:19

Reports are emerging from Toronto this afternoon regarding a prolific local knitter who used to really get sh*t done, but in recent weeks has finally come to realize that no matter what approach she takes, how many lists she writes, or how precisely her schedule is organized, there inexplicably remain only 24 hours in a day, and each of them only have the standard sixty minutes, no matter how many post-it notes she sticks to the wall above her desk.

Witnesses claim that the complete dissolution of a system that was barely working began two weeks ago when the knitter became a grandmother.  “I don’t know what she was thinking” said a source close to the knitter. “I mean, you can’t just add a whole other person to your life and not take a couple of the post-it notes down, you know what I mean? She just kept saying it she could fix it with organization, but I think that she’s in over her head. The baby, the Bike Rally, the Retreats, The Knitter’s Frolic thing… She’s going to lose it.”  The source went on to report that the knitter had snapped the evening prior while serving bagged salad and dry toast for dinner,  claiming tersely that it still counted as a meal and mumbling that the source was lucky to get anything, and to hang up his towel after he uses it because they are  (*&^%ing out of clean ones.

This trouble has spread to mostl areas of the knitter’s life. A “friend” of hers reports that yesterday she proudly turned up to an 11am appointment at 11:30, absolutely confident she was on time. “That’s just not like her.” He said. “Steph’s really not late often, she’s pretty together, you know? I know she put this in her calendar. I can’t figure out what’s going on. Plus she made me look at pictures of that baby again. The kid’s cute and all, but I think she’s already texted me all of them.”  He reports that when confronted with the reality that she was 30 minutes late for their appointment, she took out her phone, looked at that day’s date,  incredulously tapped on the calendar, then stared incomprehensibly at the booking for 11am. “That’s really not…. ” she stammered, and then was overcome by wave of apologies while simultaneously answering a text about a missing help number for a training ride this weekend and making a mental note to eat lunch at some point while writing a talk for The Frolic this weekend and composing a reply to Megan addressing her query about burping and if you should wake a baby up to do it. (For the record, no.)

As we have come to expect from previous encounters with this knitter under stress, housekeeping went first, and the knitting has been the last thing to go. While dust bison roam the knitters home, everyone is out of clean clothes and a smell that has gone past “weird” and into “disturbing” continues to emanate from the fridge, itty-bitty knitted things  pour forth unabated.

This tiny hat followed the realization that the new baby was indeed too tiny to fit the things knit for him during his gestation, but that the weather had not yet turned, and he would need something on his head.

(Yarn is Madeleine Tosh Tosh Sock in an old colour called “Happiness.” Pattern an old favourite from the Original “Homespun Handknit“)

A pair of bootees followed immediately thereafter, because his feet looked cold, and he didn’t match, and despite the absolutely impossible level of chaos in the knitter’s inbox and on her desk, that seemed like a priority.

Pattern is Baby Moc-a-soc (downsized slightly, and knit in the round.) Yarn’s the Mad Tosh from the hat,  along with a wee bit of the same yarn in “Antler”, and this reporter can attest that while we are all pretty damn sick of the baby pictures, these are only sweeter on his widdle feetsies.  (Ahem.)

Despite all of these challenges, the knitter has so far, with the help of caffeine and crying alone in the bathtub, managed to meet all deadlines, spend lots of time cuddling the baby and continued to mostly do her job(s), as long as you take her at her word that she does not now, nor has she ever considered cleaning anything her “job”. She has appeared in public several times over the last few days and on the surface, appears to be holding up well. (There are sporadic reports that she texted a friend something like “oh man what was I thinking I’m not going to make it” but no actual proof.) The only outward crack in the facade has been a shocking tendency toward spelling errors in emails written in haste, the fact that she ate celery for breakfast twice because it was all that was in the house, and yesterday – left a freshly knit baby sweater outside to dry, immediately before a torrential downpour, where it stayed until it was completely sodden and in need of re-washing. Of this lapse, the knitter would only say “For (*$^%s sakes.”

(Photo procured after evidence was removed from the scene.)

When last heard from the knitter in question was typing frantically at her laptop, with her life in tatters all around her, softly mumbling “next week I’m going to get all this together” while her family stood nearby, shaking their heads gently.   We attempted to reach the knitter for comment, but all we received was a reply was an email that read “Isn’t he the most darling thing ever?” and the attached baby picture.

This would have been more annoying, did this news outlet not agree that he is freakin’ adorable. We will continue to follow this story closely.

Categories: Knitting Feeds

Pin Ups and Link Love: My Favourite Things This Week

Knitted Bliss - Fri, 04/28/2017 - 11:00

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My Favourite Articles and Links This Week How to keep your brain young while you age. This is a breathtaking reason to encourage seed and crop diversity. That is the most beautiful corn I’ve ever seen! Tips on ditching regret, and getting over the past. Yesterday was Poem in Your Pocket Day, a collaborative effort between

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Wallowing in Wool

Knitting | Work in Progress - Thu, 04/27/2017 - 11:00
One of the few things I love about winter is the unbridled opportunity to wallow in wool. From scarves and shawls to cardigans, mitts and afghans, every woolly item sees action on a regular basis.



Spring has arrived and summer is on the horizon, so an ode to the wonderfulness of wool may seem odd, but like many of you, I work with it year round. From 100% wool to fiber blends, I value the springy resilience that keeps my stitches even and helps pieces rebound after blocking.


Years ago, I discovered wool's inherent versatility years ago, when I worked in an environment where business suits were daily attire. After much experimentation, many false starts and lots of wasted dollars, I discovered the solution: classic, tailored suits in fine wool fabrics. They traveled well, required minimal maintenance and lasted a long time.




When I used my noodle and chose wisely and well, a few suits and a handful of separates offered countless variations that made it easy to dress for work and pack for business travel. In concession to our hot and humid summers, I had a few summer weight pieces, but overall, my work wardrobe consisted of a year-round core of wool and wool-silk blends.


When I began knitting in earnest, I had to relearn this important lesson. Early on, I made an oversized gansey in a wool-acrylic blend, followed by a sweater jacket in 100% wool. Both pieces survive today, but the difference between the two is notable. Pilled and rather limp, the gansey is restricted to at-home use. The all-wool jacket, on the other hand, looks fresh and (nearly) new, so it's quite wearable. (One day soon, I'll try to get pictures of both.)



All of this is a long way of saying, with a few notable exceptions, wool is the common denominator in the yarns I love most. Warm weather may be on its way, but one way or another, I'll still be wallowing in wool.

PS: The photos show some of the wool and wool-blend yarns currently on the short list for summer knitting. Subject to change, of course!


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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Life Lately: Lila’s Birthday and Georgia O’Keeffe

Knitted Bliss - Wed, 04/26/2017 - 11:00

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April is a crazy month for me, and I suspect that’s true for many people. Doesn’t it seem like there are just so many birthdays, events, gatherings, conferences and everything else you can think of all crammed into April? Maybe that’s just my little corner of the world. Lila turned 5 recently. Her birthday technically

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Modification Monday: A Very Special Rye Hack

Knitted Bliss - Mon, 04/24/2017 - 11:00

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Original Pattern: Rye Knitter Extraordinaire: Heather (Ravelry ID, website) Mods: Adjusted gauges from worsted weight to fingering weight, and chose to work a stranded fair isle design on the heel flap. Details can be found on her project page, here. What Makes This Awesome: Heather participated in a Tin Can Knit’s pattern hack KAL at the end

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Categories: Knitting Feeds

Knitting through the heat...

My Sister's Knitter - Sun, 04/23/2017 - 14:03
Hello there! Pattern~ Skedaddle Yarn~ Fondant Fibre Superwash polwarth in the color Harmony. It is a warm (very warm) Sunday here in Arizona, so what does one (me)knit when the heat is on? Thoughts of knitting on my scrappy blanket are all but gone as the temps are going to... Andi
Categories: Knitting Feeds

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