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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Regina Scarf for MIL

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Regina Scarf for MIL


Regina Cable Scarf for MIL


Pattern: Regina Cable Scarf
Yarn: Elann Luxury Merino Superwash, Ruby Red
Needles: 5mm (US8)


I still find it very frustrating to take photographs of any of my red colored knitting. The camera has a difficult time focusing. And when the camera does manage to focus, the photo is always "off" somehow.

Hey, this scarf looks a lot like the pink scarf I made last December! No, I didn't throw it into a pot of dye. I just finished a second one in red. This one is knit with the same yarn, Elann Luxury Merino Superwash, one of my current favorite yarns. Can you tell from how often I've used this yarn? The color is Ruby Red, which is currently out of stock. This scarf is a bit longer than the pink one. I used about 5.5 balls of yarn to work 12 repeats of the pattern for each half.

I started this scarf in January 2008 after my MIL commented on the pink Regina Scarf I wore. It was the first time she really commented on any knitwear I wore to her house. She rarely takes notice of my knitting, so I took this as a sign that she might like having a Regina Scarf of her own. This scarf should have been completed by March or April at the latest. I had knit the first half, then it spent months languishing on our living room sofa where more alluring knits called to me whenever I had a few minutes to knit a little bit. So I thought entering this scarf as my Ravelympics WIPs Wrestling project would help give me that extra push to finish off the scarf. And I really did chip away at it during that 17 day window. Really! Unfortunately I couldn't finish it before the Ravelympics deadline. I like to think that I would have finished the scarf during the last few days of Ravelympics -- I only had ~32 rows left, plus grafting the two halves and weaving in ends -- if it weren't for Miss M coming down with a nasty fever of 104ºF (40ºC), among other not so fun things.

Miss M is still sick so I've been taking care of her, trying to convince her that rest & liquids are best. She missed day care on Monday and I think she misses her friend K there, amosg all the other fun activities in day care. I don't think it is a coincidence that she has come down with something shortly after starting day care this month. We took her to see Dr. L yesterday for some reassurances and I thought it was interesting hearing how we could alternate acetaminophen and ibuprofen every 3 hours.

The bobbles in this scarf are worked by doing a 5 stitch increase, turning the work, and purling 5 stitches. During a short section of the scarf I tried to teach myself to knit backwards so I wouldn't have to keep turning the scarf. It was awkward at first, then I got the hang of it and it became easier. However I didn't feel this was a great improvement since it took me such a long time to purl backwards. Then I reverted back to my old ways, of turning my scarf every time I worked a bobble. There is a nice little article on Knitty about knitting backwards if you want to learn how this nifty technique.

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Sunday, August 24, 2008

Hera Scarf Pattern

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Pattern: Hera Cable Scarf (see below for pattern)
Yarn: Elann Luxury Merino Superwash DK, Irish Moss , 7 balls
Needles: 5mm (US8)

Row-by-row instructions are now available! Isn't it ridiculous how long it has taken me to put together row-by-row instructions for this scarf? I made the chart back in May, made the chart available for download in June, and now we're creeping up to September. At least I got it all done this year. :-)

I actually found it more difficult to type up row-by-row instructions for this after not having looked at the pattern for such a long time. That'll teach me to procrastinate!

I designed the scarf on paper on May 3rd. The scarf started out a little rough as I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do, 3 cables or 5 cables? As I was trying out the 5-cable version, I ran into a little snag and had to frog. (I have some links in my sidebar about fixing cable mistakes; I was just too lazy or didn't have enough wine to tackle my particular cable which was a mixture of 3-stitch & 4-stitch cable crossings of either all knit stitches or combination knit/purl stitches). It was just as well. I just couldn't get a good marriage between that sport weight yarn and the 5-cable pattern due to the scratchiness of the yarn. It was definitely not next-to-skin soft thus wouldn't do for a scarf. On May 13, Vicki told me she preferred the 3-cable version. Sometimes it's good to get other people's opinion during the design process. :-) So this ended up being a 3-cable scarf with my favorite DK weight yarn, Elann Luxury Merino Superwash. The color is Irish Moss, which is really lovely when seen in person. In the end, I do like how this scarf turned out. Both 3-cable & 5-cable versions are available for download in chart format.

In June, the pattern become one small square in Benne's blanket; there was a followup post about Benne's Blanket here which has a link to the finished blanket. You must see it! There are some incredible squares in her blanket.





Hera Cable Scarf Pattern in chart format has been available for quite some time, look here:
http://smariek.blogspot.com/2008/06/hera-scarf-sneak-peak-vest-progress.html

Hera Cable Scarf Pattern in row-by-row instructions format:
Triumph Scarf Pattern from Box.net (no registration required, just click on link & save file)


My series of cable scarves...

Persephone Scarf:
http://smariek.blogspot.com/2006/12/persephone.html
Ariel Scarf:
http://smariek.blogspot.com/2007/04/ariel.html
Miranda Scarf:
http://smariek.blogspot.com/2007/06/miranda-scarf.html
Osiris Scarf:
http://smariek.blogspot.com/2007/09/osiris.html
Bernadette Scarf:
http://smariek.blogspot.com/2007/11/bernadette.html
Regina Scarf:
http://smariek.blogspot.com/2007/12/regina.html
Paquin Scarf:
http://smariek.blogspot.com/2008/03/paquin.html
Beaumonde Scarf:
http://smariek.blogspot.com/2008/04/beaumonde.html
Shadow Scarf:
http://smariek.blogspot.com/2008/04/shadow.html
Hera Scarf:
http://smariek.blogspot.com/2008/08/hera-scarf-pattern.html
Triumph Scarf:
http://smariek.blogspot.com/2008/08/triumph-cable-scarf-pattern.html
Ezra Scarf:
http://smariek.blogspot.com/2008/09/ezra-cable-scarf-pattern.html
Sihnon Scarf:
http://smariek.blogspot.com/2008/10/sihnon.html
Londinium Scarf:
http://smariek.blogspot.com/2008/10/londinium.html
St. Albans Valentine Cable Scarf:
http://smariek.blogspot.com/2008/11/scarf-15.html



elann.com Peruvian Luxury Merino Superwash
100% Machine Washable Fine Merino Wool
21-22 st/4 inches 3.75-4.0 mm (US 5-6)
112 m (122 yards) per 50g (1.75 oz) ball
$3.98 USD per ball

Stitches used in the Hera Cable Scarf include:
Knit-Two Purl-Two Ribbing, BW1 pg 39
Loop The Loop, BW3 pg 119
Twin Waves, BW2 pg 189
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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Heart Dish Cloths

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4 Embossed Hearts Cloths and Heart Lace Cloths


4 Embossed Hearts Cloths (hot blue & hot green)


Heart Lace Cloths (hot green & hot blue)

Since I picked up so much kitchen cotton this year, it was time for me to start using some of it! So I made some heart themed washcloths to make a "set" for gifting. They're all knit with Lily Sugar & Cream, in the "hot" colors. The hot green color is quite bright.


Heart Lace Cloth (hot blue)


Heart Lace Cloth (hot green)

Pattern: Heart Lace Cloth
Yarn: Lily Sugar & Cream
Needles: 4.5 mm (US7)

This cloth is a quick knit that can be done in a little over an hour. A little while back I added an alternative method for doing the D4 decrease, since some people were having difficulties with it. Give this one a try, you may find it easier to execute.

The alternative method for doing the D4 decrease, where you take the next 5 stitches and reduce it down to 1 stitch, is done as follows:
1. SSK.
2. K3Tog (knit 3 stitches together).
3. Pass the SSK stitch (from step #1) over the K3Tog stitch (from step #2).
There's always more than one way to shear a sheep... :-)


4 Embossed Hearts Cloth (hot green)

Pattern: 4 Embossed Hearts Cloth
Yarn: Lily Sugar & Cream
Needles: 4.5 mm (US7)

Here's Miss M helping me with photographing this cloth. She loves to move or pat the knitting. After receiving her "help", I should probably call this my Flattened Hearts Cloth! lol

Something I probably never mentioned before is that I was originally going to call this cloth "Windowpane Hearts". I've never been very good at naming things. People would probably like this cloth more if I had stuck with the more catchy "Windowpane Hearts" name instead of calling the pattern what it really is, which is "4 Embossed Hearts".


4 Embossed Hearts Cloth (hot blue)

To help make the hearts "pop" more, when you block the cloth, push up the hearts from the back side and press down on the purl background around the hearts.

Is blue and green an odd color combination? I wasn't sure how to pair up the hot green color. Did I mention that this is a really bright green color? I think you'd notice it more when you have the yarn in front of you.


Heart Lace Cloth and 4 Embossed Hearts Cloth

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Speaking of dishcloths, check out these cute Pacman cloths.

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Booking Through Thursday - Libraries


Whether you usually read off of your own book pile or from the library shelves NOW, chances are you started off with trips to the library. (There's no way my parents could otherwise have kept up with my book habit when I was 10.) So … What is your earliest memory of a library? Who took you? Do you have you any funny/odd memories of the library?

My first library was the Noe Valley branch on Jersey Street in San Francisco. I remember walking up the (many) stairs to the main (second) floor and then forward through to the children's section. I spent much of my time there as a kid. I can't recall if there was an elevator in the building (I don't think accessibility was a big thing back then), however I do know that the building has been closed for renovation recently and will probably have an elevator if there wasn't one before. My mom would take me to the library. Other times I would just walk the few blocks over to the library on my own. Yes, this was back in those days when it was safer for kids to walk about on their own. I used to walk to school too. I don't think parents would do that today because times have changed.

I vaguely recall a library van that went around the neighborhood with books you can check out. Unfortunatly I have no further details. My memory of this is quite hazy.



I remember library cards being green. Then there was a long period when I stopped going to the library. I guess I tended to buy more books during this period. Later on, I applied for a new library card and was surprised to find them white colored with a barcode/magnetic strip on the back. This was apparently in May 2006 cuz I happened to blog about it. I've checked out mostly children's books (for Miss M) since then. And then stopped using my San Francisco library card when we moved in September 2007. I remember being surprised at all the changes to the library system. Everything is computerized now. There are no longer small colorful due date papers slipped into pockets on the front cover of books. Or due dates stamped on a piece of paper that is on the book. The best part of these new changes is that we can do catalog searches online and renew books online.



The statue pictured on the library card is outside my current library.

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Friday Fill-In #86





This week Amy provided the questions; thank you, Amy! And...here we go!

1. Dancing to the music while people are watching makes me feel self-conscious.

2. The last time I went to Target (after dropping off Miss M at day care) I spent nearly three hours there!

3. When I drive I feel like I'm being tossed around like a ragdoll by all the other crazy drivers around me.

4. I saw my toddler standing on a stepstool, figuring out she could open the pantry door by doing this.

5. Give me hamachi (yellowtail), give me maguro, give me sake. I'm back on the sushi/sashimi eating boat again!!! :-)

6. Next week I am NOT looking forward to my doctor's appt.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to finishing Elann HUGe swap item #8, tomorrow my plans include taking care of Miss M who has a 104+ fever and Sunday, I want to veg!

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Miss M woke up early this morning and hasn't been feeling well since. She took a 1.5 hour nap in the morning after breakfast and when we took her temperature it was 104+ ºF! (That's 40+ ºC) I'm surprised that she is up and about in relatively good spirits for someone which such a high temperature. I remember having a 104ºF fever decades ago and I spent that time in bed feeling miserable.

I finished item #8 for the Elann HUGe 2008 swap. I haven't gotten around to taking photos of it yet. Now I have 2 more to complete and then mail all 10 to Theresa by October something. I haven't decided whether I will wrap each of them. I'm inclined to leave them "open" so Theresa can see what colors they are. I have the feeling she has a good idea of who would like which color when she is putting together the swap boxes.

Besides the heart dishcloths I made above, I did finish another one last week. It's a lacy dishcloth. I'll share photos of that one another day.

I've been meaning to frog my February Lady Sweater because I need to start over using smaller needles and make larger button holes for the buttons I got for the sweater. I just hadn't gotten around to doing this yet and now I'm afraid the yarn will be too "curly". Trish is using the same yarn, Elann Superwash Bamboo, for her February Lady Sweater and she has posted some interesting findings from swatching with this yarn.

I've been too busy lately to keep up with blog reading and notice that my blog reader says I have 1000+ posts to catch up on. Right now it feels like an overwhelming task to try to catch up. Would it be terribly wrong to mark them all as "read" and start over with a clean slate? Will the Blog Reading Police come after me if I do this?



On the other hand, I have found myself stealing a few minutes here and there to chip away at "A Suitable Vengeance" by Elizabeth George. I'm reading her novels out of order and am thrown off by the fact that (in this book) Thomas Lynley is about to marry Deborah Cotter because I know in later books he's actually married to Helen Clyde. I've made it halfway through the book without Miss M pulling out my book mark. :-)

And when I'm knitting in bed, I'm chipping away at "The Two Towers", book #2 in The Lord of the Rings series. This is an audio book. I love audio books as they allow me to knit at the same time.


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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Triumph Cable Scarf Pattern

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Triumph Cable Scarf

Pattern: Triumph Cable Scarf (see below for pattern)
Yarn: Elann Luxury Merino Superwash DK, Cafe au Lait
Needles: 5mm (US8)

Here it is! My Triumph Cable Scarf which I designed as my Cable Steeplechase and Scarf Stroke (Ravelympics event) project. I am so thrilled about being able to complete this scarf within the 17 day window. I just hope that watching the Summer Olympics wasn't a prerequisite for this because I did most of my knitting while catching up on other stuff I had Tivo'd. This is Cable Scarf #11 in my series of cable scarves.





I used about 4.5 balls of Elann Luxury Merino Superwash in the Cafe au Lait colorway. This yarn is soft soft soft for a "superwash" yarn, I think it is because of the Merino wool. The scarf measures 173 cm (68 inches). I hadn't yet decided whether I wanted to block the scarf, and didn't want the scarf to become overly long if I did eventually block it. I thought I would like the scarf more after a little blocking, so that the center cable panel can show itself better, however I later decided that I preferred the more "scrunched" up look. So no blocking for this scarf.





Note: Row-by-Row Pattern last updated 9/15/2008. Chart last updated 9/1/2008, corrected 2 squares on Row 1 of chart. Please download newer version(s) if you have a previous copy.

Triumph Cable Scarf Pattern in chart format has been available for quite some time, look here:
http://smariek.blogspot.com/2008/07/triumph-cable-scarf-chart.html

Triumph Cable Scarf Pattern in row-by-row instructions format:
Triumph Scarf Pattern from Box.net (no registration required, just click on link & save file)

My series of cable scarves...

Persephone Scarf:
http://smariek.blogspot.com/2006/12/persephone.html
Ariel Scarf:
http://smariek.blogspot.com/2007/04/ariel.html
Miranda Scarf:
http://smariek.blogspot.com/2007/06/miranda-scarf.html
Osiris Scarf:
http://smariek.blogspot.com/2007/09/osiris.html
Bernadette Scarf:
http://smariek.blogspot.com/2007/11/bernadette.html
Regina Scarf:
http://smariek.blogspot.com/2007/12/regina.html
Paquin Scarf:
http://smariek.blogspot.com/2008/03/paquin.html
Beaumonde Scarf:
http://smariek.blogspot.com/2008/04/beaumonde.html
Shadow Scarf:
http://smariek.blogspot.com/2008/04/shadow.html
Hera Scarf:
http://smariek.blogspot.com/2008/08/hera-scarf-pattern.html
Triumph Scarf:
http://smariek.blogspot.com/2008/08/triumph-cable-scarf-pattern.html
Ezra Scarf:
http://smariek.blogspot.com/2008/09/ezra-cable-scarf-pattern.html
Sihnon Scarf:
http://smariek.blogspot.com/2008/10/sihnon.html
Londinium Scarf:
http://smariek.blogspot.com/2008/10/londinium.html
St. Albans Valentine Cable Scarf:
http://smariek.blogspot.com/2008/11/scarf-15.html


elann.com Peruvian Luxury Merino Superwash
100% Machine Washable Fine Merino Wool
21-22 st/4 inches 3.75-4.0 mm (US 5-6)
112 m (122 yards) per 50g (1.75 oz) ball
$3.98 USD per ball

Stitches used in the Triumph Cable Scarf include:
Four-Stitch Cable Crossed Every Fourth Row, BW1 pg 241
Knit-Two Purl-Two Ribbing, BW1 pg 39
Six Rib Knot Cable, BW3 pg 76


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Monday, August 18, 2008

3 balls out of 5

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Triumph Cable Scarf, 3balls length

Woohoo! I've knit 3 balls out of 5 in my Triumph Scarf.

I've discovered that I was all wrong last week about how much progress I should be making each day on this scarf. My goal should not have been to knit x inches per day. Since I have only 5 balls of Elann Luxury Superwash DK yarn for this scarf, and knowing that I only have 17 days to knit this scarf, then I really should have figured on knitting 1 ball of yarn every 3 days, which should leave me with a little extra time to weave in ends. In this case, I am on schedule. :-)

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Check out this needle gauge made by Karastix. It is so cute! And it's exactly what I need! This 29 hole needle gauge is what I need for those in-between sizes most needle gauges don't measure (such as 3.0 mm). I experienced some needle discrepancies while knitting these fingerless mitts where some of my needles which were marked US2 / 2.75 mm were actually more like 3.0 mm (which is not quite US3 / 3.25 mm). Unfortunately the Susan Bates needle gauge I have does not measure those in-between sizes. So this needle gauge would be perfect! And you have to admit that the turtles are really cute.

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Saturday, August 16, 2008

5 Questions Meme & Friday Fill-In 85

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I've been trying to work on a blog post for many days now. Unfortunately I haven't been able to sit down and focus on this one thing. I've never been good at doing something when I feel "interrupt driven".

Georgi tagged me for this meme a while back. I started typing this up and then it got buried in draft mode. I've only just rediscovered it!

The Rules:
Rules are posted at the beginning. At the end of the post, the player tags 6 people and posts their names. Then the player goes to each of the “named” people’s blogs and leaves a comment, letting them know they’ve been tagged and asking them to read your blog. If you’ve been tagged, you do the same, letting the person who tagged you know when you’ve posted your answer. Your answer, of course, is the answer to the following questions. Here we go!

1. What was I doing 10 years ago?

Let's see, 10 years ago was 1998. Where was I then? That was the year I visited Nashua, New Hampshire and Washington, D.C. for the first time. And outside the USA, I went to Vancouver and Victoria in Canada around Christmastime. Back then I was working for an investment banking firm in downtown San Francisco.


2. 5 things on my to-do list today?

-- Write to Carolyn in Maine. I've been trying to do this for months and months and months.
-- Laundry. There's always laundry...
-- Pay bills. Ugh.
-- Get photos off my camera because the card is full!!!
-- Knit a little.


3. Snacks I enjoy:

Depends on whether I'm in a sweet or salty mood. Lately my snacks have tended towards Kettle Chips in their lightly salted flavor, blue cheese, and chocolate. Not all together in one sitting.


4. Places I’ve lived:

Davis, CA
San Francisco, CA
Sunnyvale, CA


5. Things I would do if I were a billionaire:

-- Pay off the mortgage. Then realize that we can buy a bigger place in a neighborhood with a better school district, lol.
-- Donate anonymously to help others.
-- Sign up for classes. The list includes: French language, Latin language, cooking classes, knitting classes, photography classes (and a Photoshop class).
-- Travel a little.
-- Hire a maid.


If you decide to play, please leave a comment so we can go take a look at your responses. :-)

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Triumph Scarf, 2 balls length

I've made some progress on my Triumph Cable Scarf. I haven't had a chance to measure the length, however I think the finished length will be fine using the 5 balls of Elann Luxury Merino Superwash I have. It's Cafe Au Lait color which I've grown to like even more while knitting this scarf. It is too bad this color is out of stock at the moment.


Miss M stabbing my Triumph Scarf with the knitting needle

I had to share this photo of Miss M stabbing my scarf with one pointy end of my knitting needle. She's always trying to "help" when I take photos, usually by pulling or patting on the knitting. Other times she isn't touching the knitting but happens to sit between the knitting and my light source, causing a shadow over part of my knitting.

Pattern: Triumph Cable Scarf (chart download is linked here)
Yarn: Elann Luxury Merino Superwash DK, Cafe Au Lait color
Needles: 4.5 mm (US7)

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Other things in the works include:

-- I'm still working on my MIL's Regina Scarf. I started this back in January and although it does not need to be done until Christmas, it really should not take this long to finish a scarf!!! I do chip away at it when I'm not working on the Triumph Scarf. I'd say I'm about 3/4 done with the scarf. I don't think it will be completed by August 24th though. I should just concentrate on finishing the Triumph Scarf first.

-- The Elann HUGe swap. I'm averaging 2 items per month and am currently working on #8 (out of 10). I need to find out when the deadline is and where to send everything. I know I've emailed Theresa about it, but I think she's really busy cuz I haven't heard back from her in months.

-- I've got a lacy knitting thing coming down the pike.

-- I'm thinking about trying KnitPicks Gloss sock yarn for a cable scarf. It's 70% merino wool and 30% silk, so I'm hoping it has enough "body" to hold up to cable stitches and that it will be next-to-skin soft. There aren't too many colors to choose from. I find myself gravitating towards the Cosmos dark purple color that will be available on September 5th.

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Not much else going on. Miscarriage #2 started last night at 7PM and went on for a few hours. It wasn't quite the same as last time and I'm worried about it being incomplete. Last time it just took a few hours on Easter night, perhaps this time it'll span a few days. I'm glad I managed to postpone my appt which was supposed to be yesterday afternoon and rescheduled it for 2 weeks later.

I think I'll make a little more progress on my Triumph Scarf tonight as I watch one of the movies I have waiting to be seen. My choices this time are: Shrek 2, Shrek 3, Fantastic 4 Rise of the Silver Surfer, Constant Gardener, and The Departed.

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The next project has been chosen for The Fashionable Late in '08 KAL. Smoke rings! Go check it out! I've got too much on my plate to participate so I'm joining Bets on the cheerleading squad.

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FRIDAY FILL-IN #85

Yes, this is a little late...

1. The last meal I had at a restaurant was Dol Sot Bi Bim Bap (from a Korean restaurant). It's yummy stuff! Make sure you get the "dol sot" version and not the plain Bi Bim Bap.

2. People spitting in public is something I intensely dislike.

3. The full moon beautiful.

4. San Francisco Left Turn (which is really 3 right turns) is one of my favorite local expressions.

5. Sometimes it's best to keep one's mouth shut.

6. I have absolutely no idea what is the best movie I've seen so far this year, but it might be Bourne Ultimatum which I saw in April!

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to relaxing with some knitting (but that didn't quite happen), tomorrow my plans include relaxing with some knitting (really gotta catch up on the Triumph Scarf!) and watching a movie and Sunday, I want to go out for dim sum!

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Monday, August 11, 2008

Ravelympics - Day 1 & 2

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Day 1 (Friday, 8 Aug 2008):


Triumph Cable Scarf, Day 1, 10 rows, US7 needles

It looks like I'm off to a slow start on Day 1 of Ravelympics 2008. I only managed to cast on and knit 10 rows. I'm not sure how long I can make this scarf since I only have 5 balls of Elann Luxury Merino Superwash yarn and this Cafe Au Lait colorway is currently out of stock. I'm hoping to get at least 5 ft out of these 5 balls. This would mean I should try knit 3.5" to 4" each day if I hope to finish the scarf within 17 days. Perhaps I should make that goal 4" to 5", so that I can finish early enough to have time to weave in ends. Does that sound like a plan?

Ok, looks like I'm a bit behind here. I didn't measure my 10 rows here. It's probably 1.5" to 2" long, so I better knit 6" or more for Day 2 if I want to keep up. We can't be falling behind at the very beginning can we?

I'm already wondering whether I should use 5 mm (US8) needles instead of the 4.5 mm (US7) needles I started with. Hmm. Starting over would mean falling behind even further. Better decide soon though.


Pattern: Triumph Cable Scarf (chart download is linked here)
Yarn: Elann Luxury Merino Superwash DK, Cafe Au Lait color
Needles: 4.5 mm (US7)

Day 2 (Saturday, 9 Aug 2008):


Triumph Cable Scarf, Day 2, US 8 needles

Here's Day 2. I frogged Day 1's work and recast-on with US8 (5 mm) needles. I knit about 35 rows. I like the results with the larger needles. The pattern will look better after some light blocking. I will have to pin it out to show you what it will look like.

I'm afarid that's all the knitting I've done. The house is sick. Miss M has had the sniffles lately. I wonder if this has anything to do with last week being her first week at day care. And DH has had a cold these past few days. Wonder if this is not a coincidence with Miss M's sniffles. Anyhow, it hasn't been fun at home this weekend with two kids to take care of.

This Triumph Scarf is for the Cable Steeplechase event and the Scarf Stroke event. I still need to work on my MIL's scarf, the Regina Scarf, for the WIPS Wrestling event. I started her scarf in January and need to get it finished in time for Christmas. So I'm hoping Ravelympics will get me off my lazy bottom and finish this. It really should not take this long to make a scarf!

I saw Ratatouille this weekend. What a cute movie! I definitely want to see it again. I'm going to try to make some more progress on the Triumph Scarf tonight while watching another movie. I haven't decided whether it will be Eragon or Spirited Away. I'm leaning towards Spirited Away, however I'd want to watch it in the original Japanese language which means reading English subtitles. This will slow down my knitting a little bit. Even though the DVD has an English language track, I actually prefer watching foreign movies in their original language. Weird, huh?

I've fallen off the blog reading wagon in recent weeks and am trying to get back on it. So I'm gonna try to catch up on internet time as well as make Ravelympics progress.

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Can't figure out what to do with leftover wool yarn? Check out these dryer balls made with wool yarn. I've heard of dryer balls you can buy in stores, haven't had any first hand experience using them. Do they really work?

We recently replaced our washer & dryer. Will have to tell you about that in another post.

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Sunday, August 10, 2008

My First Knit Vest

You last saw this vest blocked without buttons. I know it's been a while since I finished this vest, it just took me quite a while to type up my final blog post about my very first knitted vest. I wanted to get all my knitting notes in here for future reference, but I had such a hard time sitting down and concentrating on this. Well here it is. Better late than never, eh? :-)

(Yes, I'm still working on typing up the row-by-row instructions for my Hera Scarf and Triumph Scarf. It's next on my "todo" list. Really! ----- And I've cast on for my Triumph Scarf and will post progress photos soon!)



Pattern: Patchwork Textured Vest from Lion Brand
Yarn: Elann Highland Wool, Allspice color
Needles: 4 mm, 4.5 mm

This is my first big shaped garment, a vest for Mom. She wanted a vest and it had to meet certain criteria: straight hem all around; not too long; v-neck. After showing her a few potential vests, she chose this one. She also chose the color. We were looking at lavender shades at first, but then she later decided on this yellowish Allspice color telling me that, "it's a good color for older people." Ok, whatever. She always had her own ideas about things. I thought the lavender would have looked great on her. Although the pattern is relatively simple (I think), I found this to be a challenging and difficult knit for several reasons:
  • Not really grasping "knitting to gauge".
  • Having substituted a lighter weight (almost DK weight) Elann Highland Wool worsted weight yarn in place of the heavier weight Lion Brand Cotton worsted weight yarn specified in the pattern.
  • Having a hard time comprehending the instructions as written, especially the shaping sections where while doing A, you also do B.
  • Knitter stupidity and lack of common sense.


Buttons for mom's vest

I would have to say that the funnest part of knitting this vest was choosing buttons for it. I had no idea what to get and it was a good thing I brought the vest with me while shopping so I could try them on and see how the buttons looked. Some buttons look nice on the rack but not on the vest. Thank goodness the vest pattern specified the size to get, otherwise I might have chosen larger buttons. I was aiming for 5/8 inch. Oh and thank goodness the button sizes were labeled too cuz there would have been no way for me to eyeball 5/8 inch. The buttons I chose seemed to match ok. They're not very exciting buttons however I think my mom will find them acceptable.


Buttons, not so evenly spaced

I sewed the buttons starting from the bottom. For some reason it wasn't until I was sewing on the penultimate and last buttons when I realized that I should have used the vest pattern to determine where to sew the buttons so that they would match the button holes. For example, if the button hole is on row 16 of the pattern on the right front section, then I should sew the button on row 16 of the pattern on the left front section. You can see how uneven the buttons are when you look carefully at the photo above.



Vest on me

Here's what the vest looks like on me. At first glance it may look okay, however I still believe it is a tad bit on the short side. And I don't know how to describe how strange I think the armbands look. They stick out in an odd way, don't you think?

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Personal Notes:

Personal Notes for future reference, in case I knit this again using the same yarn. I wouldn't want to make the same mistakes twice. These notes apply to casting on 92 stitches for the medium size, using US6 & US7 needles, using Elann Highland Wool yarn.

I know that the following sounds really dumb and obvious to the more experienced knitters. I need the details written out because I had a hard time understanding the pattern instructions as they were written.

20 rows = 3.5" tall block section
Work 5 repeats (4 rows each) of each Pattern Block.

Remember to keep 1 stitch stockinette selvedge on edges
I kept forgetting this!

Work WS rows in reverse pattern order
This messed me up at first when I started working the WS rows in the same order, working WS Pat I, Pat II, Pat III for the 1st Block section. This is wrong.
1st Block
RS rows: Pat I, Pat II, Pat III
WS rows: Pat III, Pat II, Pat I

2nd Block
RS rows: Pat II, Pat III, Pat I
WS rows: Pat I, Pat III, Pat II

3rd Block
RS rows: Pat III, Pat I, Pat II
WS rows: Pat II, Pat I, Pat III
End each Block Section with Row 4
At first, I ended on Row 2, and it didn't look good after working the next block section above it (see photo here). It definitely looks better ending on Row 4.

Binding off
Leave a long enough tail to use for seaming the shoulder seams.
Hakucho had suggested doing 3-needle bind off, will have to try that next time.

Use vest pattern as guide to where to place buttons
If a button hole is on Row X of pattern on one side, then sew button on Row X of pattern on the other side.

Keep track of shaping decreases with checklist
I had a hard time focusing on maintaining the block pattern while trying to remember when I should decrease and where it should be done. I found it easier to jot down the decrease instructions next to the block pattern row I am working on, then check them off as I go.

Start shaping when piece is 10" long = 3rd Block row 17 (= row 1)
That is, when you work the 3rd Block, work it for 16 rows, then start shaping/decreases on row 17, which is 3rd Block row 1.
BACK SECTION SHAPING
Block 3, Row 1 -- BO 7 at beginning
Block 3, Row 2 -- BO 7 at beginning
Block 3, Row 3 -- SSK ... K2Tog
Block 3, Row 4
Block 1, Row 1 -- SSK ... K2Tog
Block 1, Row 2
Block 1, Row 3 -- SSK ... K2Tog
Block 1, Row 4
Block 1, Row 1 -- SSK ... K2Tog
Block 1, Row 2
Block 1, Row 3 -- SSK ... K2Tog
Block 1, Row 4
Block 1, Row 1 -- SSK ... K2Tog
Block 1, Row 2
Block 1, Row 3 -- SSK, K2Tog (64 sts, end shaping)

FRONT LEFT SECTION SHAPING
(Note: decreases are labeled as SSK or K2Tog, but actually do whatever is needed to create a knit or purl stitch to maintain pattern)

17. Block 3, Row 1: BO 7 ... K2Tog, K1
18. Block 3, Row 2
19. Block 3, Row 3: SSK ...
20: Block 3, Row 4

1. Block 1, Row 1: SSK ... K2Tog, K1
2. Block 1, Row 2
3. Block 1, Row 3: SSK ...
4. Block 1, Row 4
5. Block 1, Row 1: SSK ... K2Tog, K1
6. Block 1, Row 2
7. Block 1, Row 3: SSK ...
8. Block 1, Row 4
9. Block 1, Row 1: SSK ... K2Tog, K1
10: Block 1, Row 2
11: Block 1, Row 3: SSK ... (this ends the "dec 1 st every other row 7 times" part)
12: Block 1, Row 4
13: Block 1, Row 1: .... K2Tog, K1
14: Block 1, Row 2
15: Block 1, Row 3
16: Block 1, Row 4
17: Block 1, Row 1: .... K2Tog, K1
18: Block 1, Row 2
19: Block 1, Row 3
20: Block 1, Row 4

1. Block 2, Row 1: .... K2Tog, K1
2. Block 2, Row 2
3. Block 2, Row 3
4. Block 2, Row 4
5. Block 2, Row 1: .... K2Tog, K1
6. Block 2, Row 2
7. Block 2, Row 3
8. Block 2, Row 4
9. Block 2, Row 1: .... K2Tog, K1
10. Block 2, Row 2
11. Block 2, Row 3
12. Block 2, Row 4
13. Block 2, Row 1: .... K2Tog, K1
14. Block 2, Row 2
15. Block 2, Row 3
16. Block 2, Row 4
17. Block 2, Row 1: .... K2Tog, K1 (this marks the 10th time of "AT THE SAME TIME, cont to dec 1 st, 1 st from neck edge every 4th row")
18. Block 2, Row 2
19. Block 2, Row 3
20. Block 2, Row 4
then Bind Off next row.

FRONT RIGHT SECTION SHAPING
(Note: decreases are labeled as SSK or K2Tog, but actually do whatever is needed to create a knit or purl stitch to maintain pattern)

17. Block 3, Row 1: K1, SSK ...
18. Block 3, Row 2: BO 7 ...
19. Block 3, Row 3: ... K2Tog
20: Block 3, Row 4

1. Block 1, Row 1: K1, SSK ... K2Tog
2. Block 1, Row 2
3. Block 1, Row 3: ... K2Tog
4. Block 1, Row 4
5. Block 1, Row 1: K1, SSK ... K2Tog
6. Block 1, Row 2
7. Block 1, Row 3: K2Tog ...
8. Block 1, Row 4
9. Block 1, Row 1: K1, SSK ... K2Tog
10: Block 1, Row 2
11: Block 1, Row 3: ... K2Tog (this ends the "dec 1 st every other row 7 times" part)
12: Block 1, Row 4
13: Block 1, Row 1: K1, SSK ...
14: Block 1, Row 2
15: Block 1, Row 3
16: Block 1, Row 4
17: Block 1, Row 1: K1, SSK ...
18: Block 1, Row 2
19: Block 1, Row 3
20: Block 1, Row 4

1. Block 2, Row 1: K1, SSK ...
2. Block 2, Row 2
3. Block 2, Row 3
4. Block 2, Row 4
5. Block 2, Row 1: K1, SSK ...
6. Block 2, Row 2
7. Block 2, Row 3
8. Block 2, Row 4
9. Block 2, Row 1: K1, SSK ...
10. Block 2, Row 2
11. Block 2, Row 3
12. Block 2, Row 4
13. Block 2, Row 1: K1, SSK ...
14. Block 2, Row 2
15. Block 2, Row 3
16. Block 2, Row 4
17. Block 2, Row 1: K1, SSK ... (this marks the 10th time of "AT THE SAME TIME, cont to dec 1 st, 1 st from neck edge every 4th row")
18. Block 2, Row 2
19. Block 2, Row 3
20. Block 2, Row 4
then Bind Off next row.

ARM HOLE BANDS

I knit 6 rows to get 1 inch.

BUTTONHOLE SECTION

Knit 6 rows to get 1 inch, while doing the following for the button holes (in the 58-stitch section):

Row 3 (RS): K2, BH #1, K11, BH #2, K11, BH #3, K11, BH #4, K11, BH #5, K2.
Row 4 (WS): K2, BH #5, K11, BH #4, K11, BH #3, K11, BH #2, K11, BH #1, K2.
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Previous blog post mentions about this vest wip:
http://smariek.blogspot.com/2008/07/vest-blocked.html
http://smariek.blogspot.com/2008/06/short-vest-or-long-shrug.html
http://smariek.blogspot.com/2008/06/dh-is-good-with-knitting-math.html
http://smariek.blogspot.com/2008/06/do-what-i-mean-not-what-i-tell-you.html
http://smariek.blogspot.com/2008/06/our-new-bird-family.html
http://smariek.blogspot.com/2008/06/hera-scarf-sneak-peak-vest-progress.html
http://smariek.blogspot.com/2008/06/vest-sections-done-yay.html
http://smariek.blogspot.com/2008/06/cant-walk-and-chew-gum.html
http://smariek.blogspot.com/2008/04/18-miles-per-ball-of-yarn.html
http://smariek.blogspot.com/2008/04/monotonous.html
http://smariek.blogspot.com/2008/04/learning-mandarin.html
http://smariek.blogspot.com/2008/03/vest-progress.html
http://smariek.blogspot.com/2008/02/eyelet-bead.html
http://smariek.blogspot.com/2008/01/last-sunset-of-2007.html
http://smariek.blogspot.com/2007/12/good-habits.html
http://smariek.blogspot.com/2007/11/merino-alpaca-wool.html
http://smariek.blogspot.com/2007/11/zara.html

Ok, is this a ridiculous number of posts mentioning my vest wip?!?!


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Monday, August 04, 2008

Yummy alpaca

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I received a little package in the mail from Allison which contained some lovely goodies. Check out the beautiful card she enclosed. Absolutely gorgeous. Allison took that photo herself, and you can get a better look at it by clicking on the photo on her Fryday Photo blog here to see an enlarged version. Go! Go take a look, but remember to come back here afterward. :-) And if you want to see some gorgeous photos from her recent trip to Italy, go here.


Bead row counters

She made me some bead row counters which I am looking forward to trying out. She has posted instructions for making these row counters here. And enclosed a yellow dial row counter because I only had red ones. I had no idea they came in yellow!



Yummy soft alpaca yarn

There was a lovely skein of Pacific Meadows Alapacas in an orange/yellow colorway. It's exudes springtime and is super soft. I am going to have find something special for this yarn.

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I'm still playing around with that same ball of black Elann Baby Silk yarn. The zig zaggy pattern you saw didn't work out for my project, so it got frogged and it reincarnated into this cable pattern:



I had to crudely pin it out to take this photo because the edges were curling. It's hard to see the pattern because of the dark black yarn. It's really a basic cable pattern where half the cable is plain stockinette and the other half is seed stitch. Click on photo to enlarge. The first cable twist at the bottom is stockinette, the next one above is seed stitch, and it continues to alternate going upwards.

I think this cable pattern is interesting but loses some impact on the dark black yarn.

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I want to thank everyone for their comments in my last post (and also in email), I really appreciate it. I can't believe I received the same news twice within 5 months. One can read and hear about what happens during a miscarriage but nothing truly prepares you for the experience itself. It was quite a shock in March, however after having gone through that before, I am definitely better prepared this second time around. Still waiting...

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Just responding to some comments from my Lights off post...

CatBookMom:

Love your suggestion of using a light colored towel underneath dark yarns. I had never thought of doing that before and will definitely give it a try.

As for the first day of day care, Miss M did surprisingly great! I was worried about separation anxiety. Perhaps it's the newness of it all that has her attention or pleasantly distracted. We'll see how she behaves after she gets used to it all.

CC:

Oh my! That wouldn't be pleasant. I always think it would suck for that to happen during surgery.

Frogdancer:

I must admit that I felt exactly that while I was waiting. lol. I was really surprised to have made so much progress that day.

Teenuh:

It's the new building on El Camino near 85. Love that building, but I sometimes get lost trying to remember which floor/wing I'm heading for. Love the suburbs for the ample free parking. Back in San Francisco, I'd spend aeons circling around for parking around California Pacific Medical Center, and then it was only 2-hr parking which would be problematic if the appt (lab work, diagnostic testing, etc) took longer than that.

Good to hear that has happened to other people too. Next time I'l lhave to do some chair dancing while I knit/wait for my doctor to show up.

TracyKM:

I have that book! Many many years ago I even did the charting thing, then I eventually became more in tune with my body and didn't need to do that anymore. I should dig out that book, hopefully it's one I have already unpacked. If it's still in a box -- and we still have many unpacked boxes in our living room! -- then it may take a while.

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Buttons for February Lady Sweater

I haven't touched my February Lady Sweater lately, however I did manage to remove the buttons I got (from the card they were attached on) and try them out on the 2-stitch button hole I had made. The button hole was definitely too small for the button I chose. I think I will have to use a 4-stitch button hole. One downside to not having smooth round buttons is that they tend to "snag" a bit on the knitting. I keep looking at these buttons and liking them more each time. I think I'll keep them despite the uneven edges.

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Just responding to some comments from my Buttons for my February Lady Sweater post...

CindyG:

I actually did just that when I went button shopping, but stopped after a button fell off the card and it couldn't be reattached to the card. I was afraid the store staff would get on my case about ruining their button display. lol.

MicheleLB:

My worsted weight yarn, Elann Superwash Bamboo, knits more like DK and I think I need to go down a needle size or two to compensate for the "airy" fabric I'm getting. It's not "holey" overall, but I do think the raglan increase parts are a bit "holey", although it is not yarn-over-holey. I need to play around with different increases.

Teenuh:

Is the "twisted bar life increases" the one specified in the pattern? I actually started with that in my first row, and then switched to some other method. Still not happy with the results. Need to experiment further.

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Triumph Scarf swatch

Just when I thought I was getting caught up with blog reading (about 60% caught up, which is pretty good for me!), I fell off the blog reading wagon again. It comes in cycles and I'm always catching up. As Ravelympics (Ravelry link) begins this Friday, I will probably fall even further behind as I will need to focus on my Ravelympics projects.

When I first signed up for Ravelympics a month ago, I thought it would be a great motivator to get me to start and finish a knitting project. I was excited about it and even designed the cable scarf I would knit for Ravelympics, the Triumph Scarf Pattern can be found here in chart format. I was feeling so optimistic about starting and finishing the Triumph Scarf within 17 days that I even added the Regina Scarf (last seen here) I've been working on since January(!) for my MIL, which will (hopefully be) her Christmas present. I need to work on the latter half of this scarf. Now a month after signing up, I feel less confident about completing the events I've signed up for (viz. Cable Steeplechase, Scarf Stroke, WIPs Wrestling) and think I'm a prime candidate for the Hopelessly Overcommitted team.

I finally caught the 2-parter season finale of Doctor Who. Bloody brilliant! Must watch it again...

Check out this gorgeous photo of Milo. I think it's better than my previous favorite of Milo.

Ok, I've gotta go get some real work done now. Run some errands. Do laundry. Mop the hardwood floors. Yes, not very glamorous work. But if I finish early then I get to reward myself with a little quiet knitting time! :-)

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Friday, August 01, 2008

Lights off

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Ever sit on the exam table at the doctor's office for such a long time that the lights eventually turn off automatically? I was quite surprised when this happened to me for the first time on Thursday. There was no clock in the room so I had no idea how much time had passed. I was just happy to have some quiet time to do a little knitting! I guess pushing yarn around two needles was not enough movement for the motion detector. Next time I'll just have to remember to stick an arm or leg out every now and then.

I think I knit about 800 stitches while I waited. It's so relaxing to have something to concentrate on ... knitting, purling, and a few assorted cables thrown in to keep things interesting. I hardly noticed how long I had to wait for my doctor to show up.

I wonder what doctors think when they walk into an exam room and find their patient knitting. Is this common? Or do they think it's strange? It sure does beat reading whatever magazines they have on the rack.

Anyhow, my doctor's appt was not a good one however the news I received wasn't any big surprise to me. I think I'm becoming more in tune with my body so I had my suspicions. Although I must say I am not looking forward to going through the same experience I had a few months back in March.

Perhaps third time's the charm.

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Today I had the pleasure of meeting Kelly (Ravelry link), an Elannite. She's just as cute in person as in her photos. We petted wooly goodness at Green Planet Yarn and had some chai at Orchard Valley Coffee. This is my first visit to a yarn shop in the south bay. Is it bad that Purlescence Yarns wasn't my first? I'll have to try visiting Purlescence next week while Miss M is in daycare. Today was Miss M's first day at daycare, which made it very convenient to meet Kelly and run a few errands today. I felt so liberated! I even managed to knit a few more rows of my MIL's scarf; I'm hoping to finish it by Christmas.

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Ripple Rib Stitch

I was playing around with the Miniature Leaf pattern from BW1 using this Elann Baby Silk yarn in black which I picked up in August 2005. These little balls probably think I'm neglecting them as they've spend the past 3 years sitting in a box or drawer. This is my first time playing with my Baby Silk. The yarn is 80% baby alpaca and 20% silk. It is soft stuff! Anyhow the Miniature Leaf pattern wasn't working out for what I wanted to do so I frogged it before I could even take a photo of my little swatch. Sorry. I was eager to frog and start something new.

The photo above is the Ripple Rib Stitch pattern from BW1. It's not easy to see the pattern on black yarn. You can almost detect a zig zaggy pattern. I tried taking two photos, one without flash and one with flash. I thought the one with flash would show the pattern a little better but it actually turned out worse. I'm frogging this one. The pattern is a bit too subtle for what I want to use it for; you wouldn't even notice the zig zag pattern.

I like this Baby Silk yarn although it would be more fun knitting it in a lighter color. I find it difficult to see what I'm doing on black yarn.

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Sorry it has been such a long time since my last post. I've had a lot of things going on here. And it did not help that I finally stumbled upon my Sims Makin Magic CD #1 which I "lost" during our house move. Who woulda thunk it would be hiding out in an opaque plastic container designed for 5.25" floppies (along with a few CDs of Champs Elysées)! So of course I had to go install the base game plus all the expansion packs, then get sucked into the game for hours. My first family, Aedan and Dubhlainn are doing well. Aedan is a businessman while Dubhlainn is an art dealer.

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