Knitting 4 stitches together is hard. Especially with size 2.5 mm bamboo needles. I just couldn't make it happen. I kept dropping the stitch every time I had arduously put my needle through all the 4 stitches and fished the yarn around the tip of the needle. It wouldn't come through. I was really frustrated, but still didn't want to compromise and change the pattern. I had an inspiration about the cloud lace mittens and I was determined to go through with it.
So I came up with a solution. Magnus's mother gave me a few years ago a bunch of crochet hooks she didn't use any more. They have been in the bottom of my drawer until now, because I can't crochet, even though I have been meaning to learn for a couple years. I just never got around it because I really like to knit and there are still so many things I haven't knitted yet. Maybe some day I will have the patience to sit down and crochet something...
But back to k4tog. I have this really really small crochet hook; it's so small I can't even imagine the yarn you are supposed to crochet it with. The hook is perfect for this occasion! It goes easily through the stitches on my needle but it's not too small to get a good grab of the working yarn and pull it through the stitches. After that I just lift the stitch onto my right hand needle (making sure I don't twist the stitch) and voilà! k4tog nailed.
Easy and painless, no more achy fingertips or fear of snapping my bamboo needles in two pieces! (By the way, this was my first time ever making GIF animations, hope it works!)
I have one more trick for you: if the stitches feel too tight (the hook is hard to get through) slip all the 4 stitches purl-wise onto the right-hand needle and the back to the left one. This usually loosens the stitches a bit and it's easier to get the hook through.
Hope this helped you all!