tialys

English but now living in the south of France near the mountains and lakes. I love to talk, create stuff, hunt down cool vintage stuff and learn new things.

Homepage: http://www.thetialys.wordpress.com

A Snuggle of Scarves

Following my ‘Flounce of Frocks’ when I made four or five dresses from the same pattern this Summer,  I thought I’d invent another collective noun for my bid to clothe all my nearest and dearest with neckwarming devices this Christmas in case it gets very chilly.  If there is already a collective noun for scarves I stand corrected but I couldn’t find one and, in any case, why on earth would there be?

The first one was taken from a free pattern by Little Monkeys Crochet here.  I say ‘taken from’ because I set off, momentarily forgetting that the U.S. and U.K. versions of the double crochet stitch are different and did it the U.K. way.  However, I rather like it in this slightly less chunky incarnation.

The second version was done with the correct U.S. version of the stitch which is actually double crochet into back of loop and such fat yarn that it took a whole ball to make each of the colour variation stripes you see.  I was going to make it all mustard – what is it with me and mustard at the moment? – but I underestimated the amount I needed and they didn’t have any left when I went back to buy more.  As you can see, the stitch and the super bulky as opposed to the ‘just bulky’ yarn make for a much more substantial version and more like the designer intended.

The third one is made with one of those cake yarns that change colour as you go along.  I adapted the Little River Blanket pattern to make a scarf instead.   ‘Adapted’ here is too grand a term for what I actually did which was to make it narrower and carry on until I ran out of yarn.

The last one is very girly and I found a free pattern for this infinity scarf which uses something called the ‘lemon peel’ stitch involving a mixture of single and double crochet.  Rather than try to twist it at the beginning and crochet with the twist already made as with scarves one and two, I just used a double (US single!) crochet to join the ends together once I’d finished crocheting and I think it looks much neater.  I didn’t twist it at all actually because it’s long enough to twist it round yourself if you so desire.

Like so

 

Sorry about all the shadows but it’s very hard to get good indoor photos at this time of year without faffing about much more than I (and my unwilling photography assistant) are prepared to do

I’m going to make another of the first ‘accidentally adapted’ ones in cream and possibly another of the pink lemon peel infinity scarf in a rather nice green they had in stock last time I looked but the shop I use has a very high turnover and when it’s gone it’s gone.

Did you notice I had another stab at the Tilly & the Buttons Nora top pattern using some French terry fabric this time which is much lighter and easier to wear than the heavy black 4-way stretch jersey I used last time (see last post).   I would like to say that I felt innovative and horizontal stripes are ten a penny so I wanted to be a bit different but, truth be told, the very limited stretch in this fabric goes horizontally across the stripe and, as the stretch needs to go across the body, the decision was made for me.

Have you been making multiple Christmas gifts of the same kind of thing for your friends and family? Do you have a collective noun for them?

 

 

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Sewing My Autumn/Winter Wardrobe Part One and a Half

Well, I started in autumn and now it’s winter – tempus fugit and all that.  Plus, I showed you a mustard coloured blouse I made a few posts ago which I counted as autumnal so that’s why this post is numbered one and a half.   Just in case you have nothing better to do than wonder about the title of a blog post.

Anyway, behind the scenes of patchwork reindeer heads, crochet dogs, aprons made from tea towels and other various makes, I have actually been doing some dressmaking with varying degrees of success.

I bought the two most recently published patterns by Tilly and the Buttons – ‘Nora’ a boxy shaped sweatshirt type of top and ‘Ness’ a denim style skirt – mostly because I didn’t have anything similar in my pattern library.  In the case of the top, there might actually be a reason for that.

I’m quite short and top heavy so, if I’m honest,  a cropped boxy shape with stepped hem is probably not ideal for me and I feel a bit swamped by the style.  To be fair, I used some very heavy 4-way stretch black fabric I had in my stash which doesn’t help with the swamping and it doesn’t really work with this top – in fact, I’m not really sure what it would work with.  I think I might have had a wrap dress in mind when I bought it but it’s so heavy it would probably be akin to wearing one of those weighted vests you can get to make you sweat a lot and lose weight which would be both exhausting and not very pleasant for anybody you were spending the day with.  Anyway, I might try the pattern again in some french terry or some lightweight sweatshirt fabric which I did intend to do, thinking I had some in my stash, but there wasn’t enough of it when I dug it out from the depths.

A long distance photo (because I’m not happy with it) but you get the general idea from that and the line drawing.

Surprisingly, I didn’t have a classic ‘denim style’ skirt pattern so the ‘Ness’ pattern seemed to fit the bill.  I went for somewhere between the mini and the midi length.  I used the shorten/lengthen line which is what you’re supposed to do but it seemed to result in a slight pouch around my bum which I could probably fill with one of those ‘make your bum look bigger’ appliances you put in your knickers – and Lord knows I need help in that area – but maybe I’ll just do more squats instead.  Next time, I’ll just chop the surplus length off the end.  Still in my ‘mustard phase’ I chose some corduroy to make it with – which looks more camel than mustard in the photos.  I chose corduroy despite a previous nightmare experience with some black cord which I now realise must have been very poor quality – I found it in a charity shop so who knows where it had been, or how long it had been there,  before it came home with me to wreak its black and dusty destruction on my sewing room.

On the other hand – probably because I paid more for it and it was new – this cord behaved very well with only minimal shedding and the skirt instructions – as is always the case with Tilly & the Buttons patterns – are very well written and illustrated.  It all went together very nicely and I used some contrast fabric for the pocket bags in a bit of a fancy touch that nobody will see unless they prise those pocket tops away from my body and peer inside which, I can’t really imagine anybody doing unless invited.   I was very pleased with the fly front which is my third to date as I made a pair of shorts a few years ago and, more recently, a pair of jeans which will not be discussed here yet as I am still not quite over the experience.

Unfortunately, with just the side seams to sew up, my last fitting showed I needed to come down one size at the waist and two at that hips which then caused a bit of bunching which hadn’t been there before. – mostly due to the fact that the pocket bags were all nicely stitched in place so there were multitudinous layers of fabric being taken into the seams which had been laying very nicely before I actually decided to make it fit me.

(I don’t know why that right hand pocket looks curved on the left bottom corner – it must be a trick of the camera – see below for proof!)

Never mind, it’s wearable but not as perfect as I thought it was going to be with all my nice felled seams, fly front and patch pockets.  Mr. T. even put some rivets on here and there.

I was going to tell you about another make in this post but I would think you’ve had enough by now so I’ll leave it until part 2 (2 and a half??) which will contain yet another mustard make and another corduroy skirt – can you see a theme?

In a complete change of subject in an effort to keep my non-dressmaking readers engaged, my blocks for the F2F block swap have already been received by Esther in the Netherlands (a swap partner a little nearer to home for December), so I thought I’d add two of those on the end to show you.

Esther chose colours to match her garden pots which are a mixture of soft greens, mint greens and grey blues.

This is my first ever Churn Dash block which is surprising only because it’s a really popular block in patchwork and I’ve never done one before.  I used the central square to show off a unicorn because any excuse to show off a unicorn has to be seized with both hands and a sewing machine.

This is the Zeppelin block I’m making for everybody in the swap as well as one for myself in the colours chosen each month so I’ll have another set of blocks needing assembling and quilting to add to the ones I already have 🤔

Back to the sewing room now to continue with a ‘secret sewing’ project I am hoping to have done in time for Christmas – if not, I’ll be joining up to Amazon Prime for a next day delivery emergency gift to go under the tree 🤞

 

 

 

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Tight Lipped Tuesday No. 4

 

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Guess the Name of the Dog Result

Thank you to those of you who ventured a guess at the name of my crocheted dog I was offering up as a prize to the correct guesser on Saturday at the fund raising Christmas Fair for Twilight 

The good news is, I managed to get thirty people to have a guess for one euro each.

This meant thirty euros for the old and disabled dogs so I was delighted because the yarn had been given to me by a friend so cost me almost nothing and it was a project I did in the evenings in front of the T.V. as a practise run for a stable (kennel?) of smaller dogs which I took along with me to the fair in the hopes of getting a few more euros for the cause.

Of course these breeds are instantly recognisable – 🤣 – but should you need help, from L to R there is a West Highland Terrier, a Border Collie, an English Bull Terrier, a French Bulldog and a Chocolate Labrador.

The Westie sold, together with ……..

the Labrador – a lady bought them for her twin grandchildren.

I have a belated request for the Border Collie and somebody wants me to make a pair of Chihuahuas.  I’ll have to think about that and it might not be before Christmas.

The even better news is that we raised a record amount of money for Twilight 

I think the fact that it was a beautiful, crisp, sunny day helped and, as ever, it was the cake stand that took by far the most money.  Mr. Tialys popped in and bought a ginger cake, a carrot cake and three Bakewell slices so he did his bit and has been gracious enough to share them with me and Mlle. Tialys the Younger.

The bad news is that none of my lovely readers guessed the correct name!

She is so obviously a ‘Tara’ but none of you guessed right.

However, using a truly fair and scientific method, I put all your names in a row on the floor

and decided that the first one Flo had a sniff at would be declared the winner.  Well, I couldn’t find a hat.

I’m afraid she got a little over enthusiastic and didn’t stop at the sniffing stage.

However, I think you’ll agree there was an obvious winner.

So, congratulations ‘Line’, aka Pauline who blogs at ‘The Contented Crafter’.  would you like a tea-towel or an apron? Email me at thetialys@gmail.com and let me have your postal address.

Thanks everyone for playing along and having a bit of fun with me.

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A Bit of Light Relief

Protests against high fuel prices in the form of road blocks permitting, we are holding a fundraising Christmas Fair this weekend for Twilight,  the home for old and disabled dogs I support here in France (you can read about the amazing work Mike and Leanne do here)

I am ‘womanning’ the Twilight stall which will have calendars, Christmas cards, tea-towels, tote bags and aprons for sale along with a few of my hand made dog collars and some key fobs made from the leftover collar materials.

Remember my big crochet dog with the slightly sad face I made with super chunky wool?

Well, I thought I’d offer her up as a prize in a ‘guess the name of the dog’ game at the Christmas Fair.

I think she looks like a female dog so I racked my brains to come up with 30 girly dog names – which proved much harder to think of than male dog names for some reason.  People can choose a name for a euro and the winner can take her home.  With any luck, and just a little bit of friendly cajoling, I might be able to donate 30 euros to the cause which we wouldn’t get if I just put her up for sale.

I haven’t had the most wonderful month.  November has become the anniversary of some recent sad events in my family and I’ve had a couple of other stressful situations to deal with.  So, just for a bit of fun, and because it’s approaching the festive season, I thought I’d ask my readers if they’d like to guess her name and, if anybody gets it right, I’ll send them one of the aprons I’ve been making out of the fun tea-towels Twilight produce or I can leave it as a tea-towel if you prefer.

Here’s a close up of the possible choices

First come first served – once somebody has chosen a name, I’ll cross it off – if I can work out how to do that – otherwise you can just have a look at the previous guesses.

Just leave your guess in the comments and, because I think it’s only fair, the game is only open to those already following me.  So, if you are a follower but don’t usually comment, and you would like a free apron/tea towel – and who wouldn’t? – now’s the time.

The fair is on Saturday 24th so I’ll reveal the answer on Monday 26th.

Go on – have a guess!

 

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A Scrappy Christmas In November

 

A couple of years ago (could be more) I bought a pattern from Sew Fresh Quilts and made this dog cushion…….

………as well as this block which is yet to be made into anything.

I might make another cushion out of it and put it in the raffle at the upcoming old and disabled doggy fundraiser Christmas Fair, if I get the time.  I think I must have done a similar thing with the first one as I can’t find it anywhere.

Flushed with stitch and flip success, I bought a more Christmas themed block last year but, unfortunately, my Mum suddenly became very ill and such things got put aside.

Looking for a new project to work on with my sewing friend on a Wednesday afternoon, I remembered the reindeer and we started searching through our scraps of brown, black and white fabric – actually quite difficult colours to find as brown and black fabric isn’t something I buy that often  Anyway, we found enough between us and shared out what we had.

The pattern is available here

I must say, it was a different prospect to the dog as those antlers are formed of quite small pieces.  Accuracy is not my strongest point when titchy bits of fabric are concerned and I found trying to keep the seams and resulting larger pieces straight quite challenging which is a euphemism for ‘I undid seams lots of times, had to re-cut fabric on a few occasions and swore a lot’.  No fault of the pattern at all, I must say, but I find working in somebody else’s workroom a bit weird.  For this reason, I’m not that great in lessons or workshops – too many distractions.  I like to have my own things around me and to work at my own pace.   Also, we only meet once a week for a couple of hours and, often,  the project we’re working on goes ‘off the boil’ for me.

Anyway, after a few Wednesdays of plumbing the depths of my Anglo Saxon vocabulary, it was done.

But what to do with a pieced reindeer head I hear you ask.  I’m big on blankets around the place but not so keen on cushions or wall hangings – although I have been known to succumb now and again.

Remember the table runner for my coffee table I made from a Tim Holtz fabric selection recently?

Well, I thought I could make a more Christmassy one using the same quilt as you go method as before but with the reindeer head in the middle and various strips of leftover Christmas fabric either side, thereby using up some scraps – and some of my friend’s too as she had lots more than me.

First I bedecked his antlers with some festive bunting.  Not at all because I was trying to hide the fact that my piecing left something to be desired.  As if!

Then I joined scraps of Christmas fabric  in strips of varying widths on to the backing and batting.

Then I quilted it some more using wavy lines across the width and used a double fold binding stitched down by hand on the back as I do on quilts.

So, I don’t think I have any more Christmas scraps left now – I used up the smaller pieces on the binding.  Result!!

It will look quite festive at Christmas on the coffee table – at least the glimpses of it under the usual covering of bucks fizz glasses, mince pies and chocolates  – once the morning’s over it might get worse 🤣

Oh, and I found a felted bead in my stash of ‘things’  – I don’t know where it came from, but I knew exactly where it could go.

 

Joining in with Kate & Gun’s ScrapHappy Day Challenge which focuses on using up your scraps of fabric/yarn/paper/wooden offcuts/anything leftover.  More details and list of participants here.

Now I must go and convert more tea towels into aprons for sale at the Twilight Retirement Home for Dogs Christmas Fair on Saturday 24th.  I know how to have fun.

 

 

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Three Became Two

We had to say goodbye to Taz on Friday.

Having survived a spleen removal operation this time last year and being almost totally blind and deaf – he was diagnosed with a tumour in his mouth in August and it became more and more difficult for him to eat which was, really, the only pleasure he had left.  Friday morning, the side of his face was swollen badly and I decided it was time.

He was with us for thirteen years since being dumped out of a car as a puppy, picked up by a boy who’d seen it happen and taken into the vet’s office where I just happened to be, a few hours later, with one of my cats.  Obviously, he came home with me.

We’ve had dogs for a long time now and, to be honest, Taz wasn’t one of the dogs for me.  You might know what I mean – there’s always one or maybe two that really get deep into your heart.  Like some sort of canine stalker, he spent most of his time outdoors ignoring us and being obsessed with the dog next door who he could see in the garden below ours and ran up and down for hours, watching him and barking at him, until he wore a path in that particular part of the garden that has never disappeared.

He had his moments though.

He liked a snuggle with the cats.

Even though he wasn’t a team player, he occasionally turned up for a game.

He suffered our traditional ‘dog hat photos’ at Christmas even though he gave us the stink eye.

He’s now gone to join Phoebe the German Shepherd (who was the dog for me) and Susie the gentle Golden Retriever over the Rainbow Bridge.

We’ll miss his silly face.

 

 

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Cutting the Mustard

I’ve been busy behind the patchwork block and crocheted blanket scenes with a bit of dressmaking.

I think I showed you my cutting table laid out with some goldy mustard coloured viscosey crepey fabric  – stop me if I’m getting too technical.  I bought it several years ago and meant to make something with it last autumn when the colour was ‘in’ but luckily, a year later, it still seems to be ‘in’.  Not that I particularly care if it’s ‘in’ or ‘out’ but I think it’s a good, autumn colour in any case and I might as well move it out of my stash while the stars are aligned.

I recently bought this ‘Libby Shirt’ pattern from Sew Over It which I thought would  work well with this drapey fabric.   I usually wear very fitted tops so this boxy shape is a bit of a departure for me but I have identified a gap in my wardrobe for looser fitting blouses.  (Mr. Tialys laughed like a drain at the thought I might have a ‘gap’ in my wardrobe because, as far as he can tell, there’s no space in there at all). 

I liked the options of having a cropped straight front with slightly longer back or being able to lengthen and slightly curve the front and, in this instance, I went for the latter option. The sleeves are ‘grown on’ so no fiddling about needed there although the cuffs are added separately.  The collar is notched and is a partial stand collar and I really like the look of it though,  I must confess, the construction was a bit ‘odd’ and I think I had more trouble with it than I had constructing a ‘full’ stand collar in a previous project.  However, I have since made a skirt and cut out a different top so the reasons why I found it fiddly are now lost and therefore this observation will be of no help to anybody – sorry!  I would say that Lisa of Sew Over It has produced a tutorial to explain the construction of the collar more thoroughly and the additional photographs and more detailed instructions online definitely helped which is good because I will probably make at least one more for next Summer as I have quite a bit of Liberty tana lawn in my stash which would work very nicely with this pattern.

My ‘me’ mannequin (in that it is adjusted to my measurements)  is good for displaying the features.  I didn’t have the exact same colour of mustard buttons in my stash and couldn’t find any in the shop so went for these lighter ones which I think lifts the expanse of solid mustard a bit.  I can always change them later if I spot the perfect ones somewhere, though we all know that’s not going to happen and I’ll never get round to removing the ones I’ve already sewn on.  Let’s be honest.

A nice feature on the back of the blouse is the slightly gathered yoke and curved hem.

An action shot – or at least that’s what Stan is hoping it will be once I stop posing, pick the ball up and start playing with him.

Not sure whether Mlle. Tialys the Younger is holding the camera at an angle or the tree is doing a leaning tower of Pisa impersonation but it does appear as if I’m trying to stop it from falling over which might explain my slightly pained expression.

Next up – in the dressmaking category – will be my second attempt at working with corduroy (also ‘in’ this autumn – nobody can say I don’t try to keep up) and, if you remember my previous encounter with said fabric here – an extract from which below –  you may wonder why.

Meanwhile, the cutting of the cord – so to speak – had resulted in a black dust that had settled over every single surface in my workroom.  It was under my fingernails and on my skin – in the evening when I used a cleanser on my face, the resulting cotton pad gave me a shock until I remembered I hadn’t been toiling up chimney stacks like a female version of Bert in Mary Poppins (although more authentically cockney) but just chancing my arm with black corduroy in my workroom.

So, I re-cut another toile in a cloud of black fibres and it was at this stage, laying the pattern pieces on for a second time, I forgot about ‘nap’ which has resulted in a couple of variations in the shade of black which may or may not be noticeable enough to bother me although Mr. Tialys picked me up on it straight away as men tend to do.

Though it worked out well enough in the end.

 

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ScrapHappy Zeppelins in October

When the new session of the F2F block swap started (details here), I decided to make a scrappy block every month in the colours each participant had chosen – partly so I’d have something to show on Scraphappy day if I’m honest – which I always try to be with you dear readers.    I made a couple of blocks with random scraps then changed my mind and decided to make the same paper pieced block for each person plus one for myself using the remains of the fabric used for them or similar colours from my scrap bin.   I confess the scraps are quite big scraps (more like small remnants ) as anything too small wouldn’t work for the design I’m using.   I’m still putting it forward for ScrapHappy day this month though because the fabric was all leftovers and because I haven’t had time to make anything with smaller scraps as I’ve been in a bit of a dressmaking frenzy which will be the subject of a future post.  I hope Kate and Gun will forgive me for using biggish scraps instead of littleish scraps.  (‘Littleish’ – now there’s a word you can really get your tongue around.  Is it even a word? If not, it should be.)

On a side note, if you think paper piecing is wasteful of fabric – what about dressmaking?  I can’t believe how much goes in the bin and most of it’s no good for scrappy stuff being too thick or thin or whatever.

Anyway, I have adopted a paper piecing pattern called Zeppelin which you can find on Craftsy here as a free downloadable PDF.  It doesn’t have too many pieces which is good when you have to make quite a few of them and I like the clean lines and contemporary look of it.

I started in July with Claire’s colours of turquoise, grey, black and white.

Then, in September, Nanette’s colour choices were blue and blush pink.

I parted with some of my precious ombre fabric for this one.

Moira chose browns and creams with duck egg blue as a highlight in October.

Earlier on in the swap, I was ‘Miss June’ and later made one in my own neutral(ish) palette of greys, creams, and vintage pink.

I still need to make one in Sue’s colours  – I missed making a ‘Sue Zeppelin’ in July.  Her choices were similar to Nanette’s but with white instead of blush pink to go with the blues but, eventually, once I have a Zeppelin in all nine participants’ colours, they will make a small quilt or throw which will be quite a nice souvenir of the 2018/2019 block swap.

The four scrappyish Zeppelin blocks so far flung against my  design wall.  I say, ‘design wall’ though it is just a flannelette sheet held in place by books on my bookshelf – but you get my drift.

Wondering what ScrapHappy is?  Have a look on Kate’s blog here and join us once a month – or less if you can’t come up with a duplicitous way round it like me – well, let’s call it a ‘compromise’.

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An Eclectic Runner

Do you ever have those times when you’ve not even thought about a a new project but, all of a sudden, something pops into your head and you have to start on it there and then despite having numerous others on the go?  Of course you do.

Ages ago, I kept spending loads of money with a company called Massdrop (are they still going?) until I realised the error of my ways and unsubscribed.  However, I will always be grateful to them for my stack of beautiful ombre fabrics

and my thick felted wool ironing pad thingy which is in constant use.

Anyway, one of my impulse purchases from them was a stack of fabrics from Tim Holtz called ‘Eclectic Elements’ which has languished in my stash ever since as I couldn’t imagine any of them in a quilt and keep forgetting about them when I need something a bit ‘quirky’ in a  craft project.

 I decided (all of a sudden as previously mentioned) I needed a table runner for the coffee table in the living room.

My décor – such as it is – in there is not really something calling out for my usual selection of quilting fabrics so I thought these would work being more subdued in tone.

I took out the blues as they definitely don’t ‘go’ with anything in the room and added a couple of toning fabrics from elsewhere in my stash.

The ‘Suchard Chocolat’ piece was in the original Eclectic stack but I had already sewn it in to the runner by the time I’d thought to take a photo because it’s my favourite piece and I used quite a bit of it as the central strip.  My second favourite is the butterflies which might be moths – must put my specs on to read the teensy writing, something I’m finding myself saying more and more often these days.

I was intrigued by a method I saw here where you cut out the backing and batting to size, cut your strips of fabric and lay one centrally, right side up,  across the backing and batting.  Then, you lay the next strip right side down on top of the first and sew a quarter inch seam, then press seam open.  On the other side of the first strip, repeat with another strip and carry on like that, alternately in each direction, until you reach the ends of the runner.

I had this red and cream floral fabric in my stash which I think coordinates well with the other fabrics and also with the room it will be used in which has a red theme going on but not a bright red.

So you have, effectively, sandwiched and quilted the layers at the same time – a sort of alternative ‘quilt as you go’.  You can leave it like this or add some further quilting – which I did, using a very French makeshift template.

I bound it the traditional way with a double fold binding and some plain red from my stash.

I’m surprised how much the quilting pattern showed up once the runner was in position – especially here where the sun was shining right across it.

Oh look, there’s blue in my rug – I could have left the blue fabrics in after all.

I would be drummed out of Instagram for not plumping up my sofa cushions before a photography session.  Still, let’s call it ‘keeping it real’ this time and be amazed there’s not a dog or three draped across it.

So, not a ‘pretty, pretty’ table runner one often associates with quilting projects but I don’t think that would have worked in this room so I’m quite pleased with it.

Now to get back to whatever it was I was supposed to be doing when this popped into my head.

 

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