Time in a Bottle

October 7, 2008 at 9:23 am (Finishing, FO, knitting, Work in Progress)

Hourglass Pullover
Hourglass Sweater
Pattern: Hourglass Pullover by Joelle Hoverson
Source: Last Minute Knitted Gifts
Materials: Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran (55% Merino Wool, 33% Microfibre, 12% Cashmere) in Plum, 11 skeins; Size 8 24″ circs, Size 8 DPNs
Started: December 2006
Completed: October 2008

I finally finished this. I repeat, I finally finished this. And I love it. Why, oh why did I wait so long!

Primary knitting on this lovely pullover was actually completed back in February 2007. But due to the extensive hem knitting that I apparently wanted no part of, this languished in my knitting basket for a year and a half. Cut to a new me, a new season, and a very refreshing finishing spree, and I decided, “Hey! I don’t have to do the hems! I should just knit a new border on this and be done with it.” And a new sweater was born.

As for modifications, we have the aforementioned seed stitch borders, and I also did matching decreases. The pattern calls for just a bar increase in the body and k2tog decreases in the sleeve. I did a lifted increase to make it a bit more seamless and matching k2tog, ssk decreases in the sleeve. It fits perfectly and the yarn is so very soft. I’ve heard some mixed reviews about the pilling factor in this particular Debbie Bliss yarn, but I guess I’ll just have to cross that bridge when I come to it.

In other news, I’ve finished another clapotis in Noro Silk Garden; I’ll do a full FO post when I finally have a picture worthy of its inate loveliness. I’m also well on my way toward finishing the 28Thirty (just one sleeve to go) and I’ve cast on a new set of Dashings in Berocco Ultra Alpaca to replace my favorite fingerless mitts which were tragically lost in a drinking related incident last year. (sob!)

Here’s a sneak peak for you…
ClapotisDashing

Hope everyone is enjoying the crisp, cool fall weather, and busting out their handknits to keep them warm as we head into my favorite time of year…

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Serendipitous Waste

September 3, 2007 at 12:15 pm (Finishing, FO)

I hope everyone has enjoyed their Labor Day weekend; we spent ours puppy-sitting Max, a lovely German Shepherd mix. Naturally, he and Oliver get along famously.

MaxOliver & Max

Sleepy puppies…

Now. On to the knitting.

Maybe I’m a bit on the compulsive side, but I find myself…uncomfortable….with the number of stray yarn balls I have hanging around. I’ve had a number of projects recently that used almost a full ball of yarn less in practice than was stated in the pattern. Now, I’m the type of knitter who will keep knitting until all the yarn is gone, but sometimes the look you’re going for overrides my distaste for yarn waste. Not everyone likes a Dr. Who-style 10-foot-long scarf, even if I’d be ok with it. Exacerbating this problem is the fact that I am incapable of throwing things away, especially things I love as dearly as yarn, and I’m way too lazy to try and sell these skein by skein. I can barely manage to mail my Netflix back. So what’s a knitter to do? Let’s just say that it’s a good thing I’m a fan of the quick-n-dirty project, two of which I finished last week.

Bainbridge Scarf

Bainbridge Scarf

Why hello there chin….

Pattern: Bainbridge Scarf
Source: Pepperknit

Materials: Debbie Bliss Merino DK (100% merino wool) in 46, a dark green,1 skein; Size 5 24″ circulars
Started: August 12, 2007
Completed: August 17, 2007
After seeing some lovely versions of this on Ravelry, I started thinking that I needed a little scarflette to ward off the chill that comes early to Upstate New York. I decided I wanted it in a dark green color, and immediately started casing DK weight yarns on the old Interweb. It then occurred to me that I had a stray ball of Debbie Bliss Merino DK left over from the Irish Hiking Scarf I made for my father last Christmas in, wait for it, a dark green. Five days later, a fun little scarf was born. Almost two weeks later, I finally got around to weaving in the ends and blocking it. Such is me. Once again I was amazed by the yarn’s transformation upon blocking—it really blooms and becomes much, much softer. I swear the color even gets prettier. So bottom line, this was an easy, fast knit that will look sharp and unique in the fall.

Cloche du Boise

Cloche du Bois

Yeah, it’s a little on the long side…

Pattern: Cloche du Boise
Source: Make Me

Materials: Blue Sky Alpacas Dyed Cotton (100% cotton) in Ink,1 skein; Size 8 16″ circulars, DPNs
Started: August 26, 2007
Completed: August 27, 2007
I have a tendency to cruise around on the Internet and save free patterns as I come upon them. I then promptly forget about these patterns and they never see the light of day. Recently, I happened to be cleaning out my “My Documents” folder and came upon a “Patterns” folder I had handily set up. I opened a random PDF file, remembered the cuteness of the pattern and then noted that it called for a yarn that I had: 1) enjoyed thoroughly, and 2) had a stray ball of sitting in my stash, all alone, shameful in its solitude. It took me about 15 minutes to wind up the yarn, and two nights of knitting to finish the hat. Voila! It’s a little on the long side (or my head’s a little on the short side), but it’ll do.

Cloche du Bois

So there you have it, two lovely little projects borne of leftover yarn. Now if i can just figure out what to do with the bag of yarn scraps, taunting me from the bottom of my knitting basket!

And finally, my apologies go out to the Child’s Placket-Neck Sweater and Broad Street Mittens. I’ve been sucked in by the allure of Fitted Knits yet again. I’ve abandoned all other WIPs for the Two-Toned Ribbed Shrug. It’s a bit on the addictive side; I’m already about to pick up stitches for the collar. Speaking of Fitted Knits, I’ll have an FO post for the Coquette Lace Tube Top very soon; just as soon as I can get my s#$t together.

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You Done Good, LB?

August 26, 2007 at 9:15 am (Finishing, knitting, stash, Work in Progress, Yarn)

We interrupt regularly scheduled knitting to bring you an impromtu baby sweater…

Mmmmm….stripey goodness.

The above project is the beginnings of the Child’s Placket-Neck Sweater by Joelle Hoverson from Last Minute Knitted Gifts, or available for free here. When my husband’s professor’s wife (got that?) recently gave birth (recently as in Monday) to a boy, Matt asked, “How fast can you knit a baby sweater?” As it turns out, pretty fast, especially when using worsted weight yarn. I’m using Lion Brand Cotton-Ease, due mainly to a moment of weakness in Michael’s this week, and the fact that Matt deemed my first choice, which was in the stash and teal, “too girly.” I’m already onto the sleeves; the striping keeps me interested and the Cotton-Ease is truly lovely yarn with which to knit. It’s soft, but not too acyrlicy shiny, and the colors are downright “Rowan-esque.” While I was in Michael’s, I came *this* close to purchasing three skeins of the new Organic Cotton in a pretty green shade to make a Tube Toporini. At first glance, it’s pretty similar to the Blue Sky Cotton; but a few dollars cheaper per skein, although I think it has less yardage, about 100 yards as compared to Blue Sky’s 140ish? So it may work out to be about the same in the end.

I have some mixed feelings about Lion Brand’s new offerings. On the one hand, I’m really glad that the yarn company is creating products composed of natural fabrics in subtle colors. These products obviously appeal to those of us that would normally be shopping for yarn in an LYS. So why do I feel kind of….wrong…..buying them? When you think about it, Lion Brand is just as large a company as Cascade or Classic Elite, or even Rowan. And I really feel that price is kind of irrelevant, since when you factor in price per yard, Lion Brand is no less expensive than these “higher end” brands. But Cascade, et al. sell their products almost exclusively through smaller, local outfits instead of the “big box” stores to which Lion Brand mainly distributes. Maybe that’s what bothers me—the setting in which the product appears, as opposed to the product itself. Either way, when presented with a soft, pretty yarn in nice colors, I buy it, whether in the comfy LYS I love, or the generic Big Craft Store I don’t. I just don’t feel as good about the product from BCS. Not coming up with any conclusions here, obviously, just ruminating. Any thoughts?

I will have a few other things to show you now that my most recent hiatus from blogging has passed. I finished the Coquette Lace Tube Top from Stefanie Japel’s Fitted Knits a short while back, so I’ll do a full FO post on that once it’s all blocked and dry (maybe even a two-fer with the Razor Cami). I’m also finished with a quick-n-dirty Bainbridge Scarf (also in need of finishing/blocking), which I found on Ravelry, in some leftover Debbie Bliss Merino DK. It’s looking like the Prairie Tunic may hibernate until next summer, since I really have no desire right now to finish the back. I’m guessing I’ll find renewed interest in it come April when I’m yearning for summer, just like I did the Honeymoon Cami this past April. Let’s face it—as the end of summer draws near, I’m jonesing for some wool. I’m just tired of cotton and summer knits in general. I want some sweaters and shawls.

Coquette Lace Tube TopBainbridge Scarf

And finally, a sure sign of crisp fall weather to come, my favorite LYS had its annual end-of-summer sale last week after moving locations. I picked up some Elsebeth Lavold Silky Wool in a rust color and a plum for a Clapotis and Diamond Fantasy Shawl . I also picked up some Cascade 220 in brown for Ysolda Teague’s Gretel. Hey, does anyone know if Silky Wool has been discontinued? I’ve seen it on super-clearance in a few places, and if it is, I’d like to prepare myself since it’s probably my favorite yarn. So next, I plan on casting on the Swallowtail Shawl in Blue Sky Alpaca Silk, getting an early start on Christmas knitting, and this is the chosen project for one of my sisters. I think I’ll knit the Clapotis for the other sister and the Diamond Fantasy shawl for Mom. I’m going to try to space these out over the next few months while digging into some sweaters like the Puffed Sleeve Feminine Cardigan, Ester, Wicked (yes, again), and Flair. Maybe even a Cloud Bolero, but I think I’m really getting ahead of myself here. Oh joyful fall knitting!

Village Yarn Shop Sale

Yum….

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What’s Old Is New Again

May 12, 2007 at 4:31 pm (Finishing, knitting, oliver, Work in Progress, Yarn)

Earlier this week, I was rifling through my knitting basket (the less used one upstairs) and I came across an old FO that has never seen the light of day. I finished it in the Spring of last year, I think, and never really liked the color. So I pulled out an errant container of RIT dye, and experimented.

Before:

FO - Dream Swatch Head Wrap

After:

Dream Swatch Headwrap

I think I’ll actually wear it now, although it is a bit on the rolly side. It’s the Dream Swatch Headwrap by Wendy Bernard in Paton’s Grace, in spearmint, dyed blue. This was my first attempt to dye, and even though my bathroom looked like a smurf exploded in there, I think it turned out pretty well!!

I also wrapped up the Tivoli in Blue Sky Alpaca Dyed Cotton this week – here’s a sneak peak at it in its pre-blocked form, I’ll try and put together a full FO post this week.

Tivoli

I also got my Blue Sky Alpaca Silk in Amethyst. I ordered from Kpixie this week since my wonderful LYS was cleaned out, and what fast service! I’ve already cast on for the Clementine Shawlette. I’m really loving this pattern and the yarn is like butter. Yummy.

Clementine Shawlette

This will be perfect travel knitting for the trip next week.

And since someone couldn’t keep their nose out of the photo shoot this afternoon, here’s a few shots of my sweet Oliver. Hope you enjoy your weekend!

OliverDream Swatch HeadwrapDream Swatch HeadwrapOliver

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Saturday Anew

May 5, 2007 at 10:41 am (Finishing, Inspiration, knitting, Work in Progress, Yarn)

Not much to tell, but plenty to show on this bright Saturday morning.

Blocking

Razor  Cami Blocking

As you can see by the absence of straps, I did indeed run out of yarn. However, I bought some navy blue ribbon yesterday, and I’m going to make straps out of that. I’m not the world’s best sewer, but I’m hoping that it works. We shall see.

Casting On

Tivoli Progress

I’ve cast on for the Tivoli in Ink Blue Sky Dyed Cotton. This yarn has been in my stash for about a year. It was originally purchased for the Chevron Rib Tank, but after reading some poor reviews of that pattern I used it to make about half of the Blue Sky Fitted Tank. I got gauge with Size 9 needles per the pattern directions, but I really didn’t like the fabric it created. This time, I’m using Size 8 needles, and the fabric is loverly. I did, however, have to completely rewrite the pattern, since Dyed Cotton has a worsted gauge and the pattern calls for a sport/DK gauge. It fits so far, but we’ll see how it goes.

Inspiration

I came home to find my Summer 2007 Interweave in the mailbox. I’ve already devoured it, of course, and I think there are at least two patterns are my most likely to succeed. So pretty.

I’ve also been ogling some yarns to create this:

I’d like to try the Karabella Zodiac that the pattern calls for, but the price is a little steep. So I’m also thinking about Brown Sheep Cotton Fleece in Wolverine Blue and Elann Sonata in French Navy. Any other suggestions for a reasonably priced yarn sub? I really don’t think I can stomach $40 for a tank top, lovely as it may be. Especially since I’m likely to purchase some Blue Sky Alpaca Silk today to start the Clementine Shawlette. Alpaca Silk is probably my favorite yarn, and I think this shawl would be a perfect birthday gift for my sister. I have to get it started soon though, as her birthday is coming up fast—June 3.

Mexico

And finally, I picked this up yesterday at the Post Office. I have to say, it was not fun to compare the current passport photo with the one from 10 years ago. I’ll just have to remain focused on all the wisdom I’ve acquired, even if it has been accompanied by roughly 15 pounds and less resilient skin!

Passport

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Spring Cleaning

April 28, 2007 at 6:24 pm (Finishing, knitting, Work in Progress)

I was a very messy child. I was an even messier adolescent. And, not surprisingly, I was a very messy college student and young adult. Yikes, you should’ve seen my first apartment. But at some point during my twenties, I lost my tolerance for discord. I’m not a neat freak, not by a long shot. But I definitely prefer to keep my environment tidy and clean.

So what the h&*% is going in with my knitting basket. I swear it’s growing new unfinished projects when I’m at work. Either that or Ollie’s grown opposable thumbs and picked up the sticks. Stranger things have happened.

So while I’d generally focus on a Mother’s Day gift and my sister’s birthday gift at this point in the knitting calendar, I’m doing some selfish spring cleaning instead. I want to spend my summer knitting lace, socks, cute little camis and a kick-ass birthday present for my Mom, not stressing over the knitting basket overflow. Commence spring cleaning—here’s the game plan:

Sweater WIPs

Hourglass PulloverI’m serious now—this sucker’s going to be hemmed and blocked by the end of May. It may be too late to wear it, but I want it to be ready for fall before summer starts. It’s just getting ridiculous.

Wicked PulloverIt breaks my heart after the hours of time that went into it, but it needs to be frogged and reknit in a smaller size. I’m still getting the hang of negative ease in my garments. I’m a curvy girl, so baggy sweaters knit at postive or even zero ease do not look good on me.

Anthropologie CapeletI’m not even sure that I’m ever going to wear this, but I don’t know what else I’d ever do with the yarn, and I just want to get the d$%# thing done. I have one more sleeve to go. It’s a chunky knit. It needs to be done already.The problem is that the Size 11 aluminum DPNs I’m using on the sleeves make me want to throw the thing across the room just as soon as I pick it up. It’s like this: I knit one round, get frustrated, sigh, go get a Diet Coke, check my e-mail, come back and sit down to knit another row. Rinse. Repeat. At this rate chunky short sweaters will have gone completely out of style and come back into style by the time I get it done.

WIP Camis

Razor CamiThis actually my starting point for the spring cleaning. I finished the body while on a work-related road trip, and now I just have to finish the back ribbing, knit the straps and finish her off. The problem? I’m not sure if the yarn’s going to hold out. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Honeymoon CamiNever heard of ths one right? I started this last summer, pre-blog, didn’t finish it by the time cooler weather came along and summarily lost interest with just one ‘boob’ to go. This is next on the docket after the Razor cami. I’ve tried it on, it fits, and I can’t wait to wear it once it’s done.

Socks and Mitten WIPs

MonkeyDid I tell you I knit a sock last week? Well, I knit a sock last week. This is a great pattern for keeping yourself inspired when your knitting mojo is being sucked away relentlessly by the UFO vaccuum. This is one UFO I’m not worried about finishing. Miss you Monkey Sock, see you in June.

Log CabinEh, I’ll get to this when I get to it. One more sock to go, this is a great travel knit for the fall.

Broad Street MittensIt’s a good thing that Matt won’t even need these until the Fall, because I stalled out where the pattern told me to cast on stitches for the thumb but didn’t tell me how. Alas, I haven’t yet worked up the desire to figure it out myself.

Already in the Frog PondSo long Shedir, Trellis and random cable scarf, we hardly knew ye.

MotivationNow here’s the fun part – IF I can at least knock off the Hourglass, Razor Cami, Honeymoon Cami and AB Capelet, I will dive into this refreshing pool of potentially great knits:

Accidentally on PurposeLelahTivoliCircular Shrug

Accidentally on Purpose from SNBN in Paton’s Grace, Taupe; Lelah from Knitting for Boozehags in TLC Cotton Plus, Spruce; Tube Top-o-rini from Zephyr Style in Blue Sky Organic Cotton, Bone; Tivoli from Magknits in Blue Sky Dyed Cotton, Ink; the Circular Shrug in Caron Simply Soft, Ene’s Shawl from Scarf Style in Jaggerspun Zephyr, Emerald; Swallowtail Shawl from Interweave in Jaggerspun Zephyr, White; Acorn Camisole from Interweave in Filatura di Crosa Millefili Fine, Light Coffee; Prairie Tunic from Interweave in Jaeger Siena, Blue Grey; Ribs and Lace camisole from Interweave in Karabella Zodiac, Olive; and not pictured, the Grace pullover as modified by Stephanie in Rowan Kidsilk Haze, Smoke.

I can’t wait.

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Secret Secret, I’ve Got a Secret

February 8, 2007 at 11:15 am (Finishing, knitting, Meme, Work in Progress)

Hourglass is done! But then again, not. I did the big try-on last night and I need to rip back the neckline and make it bigger. My gauge is a little tighter than that which the pattern specifies–which is fine, because I like the bit of negative ease it gives the sweater. However I didn’t take that into consideration when I added the few extra yoke decreases to avoid a flashdance neckline. So instead I’m rocking a really tight, not-so-flattering on short people, high neckline. I’ll fix it tonight and hopefully be able to begin tacking down hems by the weekend.

Wicked is coming along nicely, I’m almost done with the yoke decreases, I think I’ll be taking it off the needles tonight to check and see if we’re ready for sleeve separation. It’s going really fast, and I think it’s going to be extremely wearable. Yay! I was going to post a nice progress shot, but after I took the picture I realized that it looks almost exactly the same as the last progress picture, so I’ll spare your bandwith until after I separate for sleeves.

It seems like there’s been a deluge of cute new patterns lately, first the Spring 2007 Interweave looks like it’s going to be a bang-up issue. I especially love the Rib and Cable Tank by Jodi Green and the Keyhole Top by Kate Gilbert. But then when do I ever not like Jodi Green and Kate Gilbert’s patterns! Wendy Bernard of Knit & Tonic also just debuted a new pattern, called Flair. I do believe it is the perfect sweater-coat for spring. I must make this, and soon.

Flair

Finally, I’ve been tagged by the lovely Emily for a meme. If you haven’t alread done so, you should check out her blog–she makes some truly beautiful things plus she’s just a really nice person to boot.

Prepare to be shocked and amazed by five secret things about me (well not really, I’m pretty normal, besides the obsessive knitting thing).

1. When I first started knitting I couldn’t figure out how stitch markers didn’t get stuck in the knitting. No joke.

2. My second and third toes are webbed about half-way up on both feet. It’s one of those weird genetic traits that runs in my family–both my sister and my grandfather have/had it. Matt likes to say that it means I’m genetically inferior. He’s joking, of course.

3. Oddly enough, with the webbed toes and all, I’m quite possibly the world’s worst swimmer. I sink like a stone, and quite frankly I can barely doggie paddle. This is not for lack of trying. I took swimming lessons every summer when I was a kid. Yeah. I failed junior lifesaving three times. It was excellent.

4. Not surprisingly with the swimming thing, I’m terrified of open water. I’m not one to have a lot of phobias, I don’t mind heights or snakes or anything, and lakes and ponds don’t bother me. But I can barely wade into the ocean without feeling like I’m going to die via riptide or shark bite, and the world will come to a grinding halt before you will ever see me on a cruise ship.

5. One of my dearest wishes is to visit every single national park in the National Park Service. Matt and I both love to hike, backpack and camp–when we lived near it we used to spend about every summer weekend camping in Shenandoah National Park. And since we’ve moved north, we’ve been trying to plan a week in Acadia. If it happens, I may die of happiness. I’m a simple girl, what can I say. (Oh yeah, keep in mind that to get to Acadia, we’ll have to drive right by the hallowed yarn store Halcyon Yarns. That most definitely will not suck.)

So there you have it, I can’t keep track of which knitters have done this meme or the very similar “6 weird things” version, so if you’re reading this, consider yourself tagged!

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Losing My Perdita

January 24, 2007 at 12:06 pm (Finishing, FO, knitting)

Perdita on Wrist

Pattern:Perdita (Lily of the Valley Lace), by Elizabeth Klett
Source: Knitty

Materials: DMC Pearle Cotton, Size 5 (100 percent cotton) in black, 1 10g ball; Susan Bates Single Points, Size 1; Susan Bates Crochet Hook, Size 1
Started: January 17, 2007
Completed: January 20, 2007

My story of Perdita is one of loss. Mid-week I was struck by a need to cast on and complete the ever-beguiling quick-n-dirty project. As I had a work event on Saturday night for which I wanted to look fierce, Perdita fit the bill. So I hustled off to Joann’s, purchased some DMC cotton (what a range of colors, by the way), hunted through my attic until I found my old stash of seed beads from a previous foray into beading, and cast on. I really enjoyed making it—I found the pattern simple but not tedious, it blocked to perfect dimensions—everything was going smoothly. And then I attempted the finishing. While I have crocheted before, and can execute a chain stitch and single crochet stitch (although that’s about it), executing these maneuvers with a Size 8 hook and worsted weight yarn is quite different than doing so with tiny, slippery cotton yarn, and a tinier, slipperier metal hook.

My finishing was B-A-D (note wonky button below). The pattern directed me to single crochet about a half-inch in, chain six to form a button loop, then do the same for the other half. Well my stitches were way too loose, and my button loops were huge for the tiny buttons I had purchased. But I was in a hurry; my work party was starting in an hour and I had yet to get ready. So what did I do? I fudged it, hand sewing the loops smaller with the crochet cotton and doing a truly remarkably bad job in sewing on the buttons and weaving in the ends. So what do you get when you fudge your finishing? A fudged up bracelet, that’s what!

Perdita

I ended up fiddling with the d%^n thing all night because the buttons kept coming undone, and eventually taking it off and jamming it into my pocket because it was annoying the heck right out of me.

And of course, by the end of the night it had fallen out of my pocket, never to be seen again.

So long, ill-fated Perdita . . . at least until the frustration wears off sufficiently to cast on for another one!

(oh and please note that even in the face of fudging on the run, I did manage to photograph the bracelet for the blog before I dashed . . . that’s dedication! :))

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Caution, Elf at Work

December 16, 2006 at 6:29 pm (Finishing, FO, knitting)

Xmas FOs

3 Hats a-Blocking

2 Scarves a-waiting (for wrapping)

1 Baby Sweater a-seaming

And a very tired knitter . . .

(And, I FINALLY blocked the Flower Petal Shawl, I’ll have pictures later on once I’ve recovered from finishing my Christmas knits!)

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Shhhh . . . It’s Blocking . . . .

November 5, 2006 at 8:41 pm (Finishing, knitting, oliver)

I finally finished the Flower Basket Shawl, it’s now blocking . . .

Flower Basket Blocking

I’ll do the full report once it dries, but suffice it to say, I cut it really close with the yardage.

Leftover Yarn

This was quite the nailbiter. Ollie’s glad it’s all over now, as I will once again have plenty of time to give belly rubs.

Ollie’s Relief

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