Sunday, December 29, 2013

2013 in Review

As is tradition in late December, I like to make a little collage rounding up all my designs from the year.

Holy shitting knitsticks.

Compare that to 2011 or poor 2012! Of course a lot of these things were actually knit in 2012 which is probably why it looked so skinty. But still. I've been a busy girl. I was going to post links to all of them, but perhaps it's easier just to point you over here. 

2013 was the year of Doomsday Knits, Love from London, and So You Want To Be a Knit Designer. It was also the year of Stitching in the Stacks and Stitch Mountain, as well as various other clubs and publications that I am honored to have been a part of. I'd say it was a pretty darn good one, over all ;-) 

As for next year's goals...

That's my to-do list app. Sigh. 

(FYI that awesome painting on my background is this.)

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Just the Tip, if you please


The neon trend seems to be holding fast, but not every outfit or occasion can support an entirely-neon accessory. So why not.... just the tip?


Just the Tip is easy enough for an adventurous beginner, subdued enough for everyday wear, but also fun enough for… well, for fun! Knit in Malabrigo Worsted, which now offers a handful of great neons- Bergamota and Apple Green from their older line-up, and the new Fluo and Very Berry.

 (Can you tell I shot it around Halloween? Dig the vampire bangs, yo.) 

You can find Just the Tip on Ravelry here, or... 

Monday, December 23, 2013

Doomsday Knits is here!!

(The digital version, anyway!)

Santa made it here in time to stuff a little apocalypse in your stockings. Woo!!! Pre-orders and Kickstarter prizes are winging their way into inboxes as we speak (give it a second and make sure to check your spam folders ;-) )

Didn't preorder? You can check it out over on Cooperative Press or Ravelry. This book has been such fun- I hope you guys enjoy it as much as we have!

Physical copies, for those curious, should start shipping early in the new year. At 172 pages they'll be doozies! In the meantime, Happy Doomsmas to all, and to all, a goodnight <3

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

We have a winner for the Zealana Air and Karbonz giveaway: Jessica! Congrats!

Everyone else, don't despair- I figure I'll give it a rest for a week or two, but I've got a very exciting giveaway up coming after the holidays ;-)

Friday, December 13, 2013

Review and Giveaway- Zealana Air and Knitter's Pride Karbonz

I was recently sent a few more goodies to share with you guys! Well, one lucky winner in particular ;-)

First up is a newish yarn from Zealana called "Air". As you might suspect, Air has a bit of a light and airy quality to it- though at a substantial aran/chunky weight, it's definitely got body. It's made of 40% cashmere, 40% brushtail possum down, and 20% silk...and is about as soft as it sounds! It claims to be "ultra soft, durable, pill-resistant, and lighter & warmer than 100% cashmere." It's got a fuzzy, brushed texture, something which can be a little itchy on sensitive skin, but I actually think I could possibly wear this on my neck without a problem (and definitely my head or hands), which is saying something, especially this time of year when my skin is bone dry and itchin' all over ;-P

Air has pretty decent stitch definition for a brushed yarn, and the different fibers give it a lovely color depth. It appears to be chained plied (it's a little tough to tell with the fuzziness) which I always find pleasant to work with- nice and round. 

Educational Sidebar: 
Possum down, for those who are unfamiliar, comes from a type of marsupial native to Australia (NOT the North American opossum, which is significantly less cute... though I am one of the few people who actually does find them a little charming, heh.) While kind of cuddly-looking, the brushtail possum is a major invasive species in New Zealand that is causing any number of ecological issues. By harvesting the down from these critters, companies like Zealana are extracting some good out of their sad-but-necessary eradication. The down is extremely soft and luxurious- often even finer than cashmere, and with an angora-like halo minus the pokey-ness! 

Second are the needles! These are Knitter's Pride Karbonz needles, which I had not tried before. They have a sort of... masculine beauty. Handsome. Man-pretty, even. Kinda sexy. The tips are nickel-plated brass and are delightfully slick and pointy. The black part is a "high-tech carbon fiber"- I'd say it feels like extraordinarily smooth wood. It's somewhat entrancing to look at, almost like... black-iridescent. Like some sort of strange black gem stone, even. In any case... the carbon part is a bit grippier than the metal part, which causes the needles to handle rather uniquely. I will say it takes a few minutes of getting used to after using pretty much exclusively all-metal or all-wood needles, but I've cast on a larger project with them now and am quite enjoying them. The joins are very smooth, which is always a perk. The cord is your usual plastic cord- not too stiff, though. I suspect it will loosen up in time, too (they usually do.)

Wanna win some??
All you have to do is comment on this post. I'll pick a winner at random at the end of the day next Friday (Dec 20th)- the winner will recieve one ball of Zealana Air in shade "L07" (the greenish one in the pic) and a set of Knitter's Pride Karbonz circular needles, size US 9/5.5mm, 40". Good luck and happy knitting!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Knitter's Gift Guide

It's that lovely time of year for filling up your wishlist with knitterly goods (and boots, if you're me. Always boots.) If you're lucky, maybe you even have other knitters to shop for (oh what fun!) I thought I'd round up a few goodies to recommend- yarn and needles are pretty obvious so I only put a liitttttle yarn in, hehe.

Clockwise from top left corner:

Herschel Supply Little America Backpack
I know they're pandering to me with their faux-retro-sentimental vibe but I totally eat it up. This one's great for knitters because it's low on yarn-catching zippers, but they have dozens of covetable styles and colors... included this new collection with knitted accents.

Loopy Mango Big Loop Yarn
This one is definitely a splurge, but it's so cooool. I'd love to give mega-giant yarn a whirl someday, but alas, not in the budget at the moment.

Knitterella "Winter Knitter" Notecard
Knitterella has tons of stationary-type goodies for knitters (including some charmingly sassy gift tags) but this sweet little doodle is my favorite.

Piccadilly, Inc Leatherlook Notebook
This is the exact notebook I use for designing. I'm not sure why I like it, exactly, but I do. It's got that smooth, pliable cover like a Moleskine, but more reasonably priced. Looks nice, feels nice, pretty durable, has a little ribbon bookmark... pretty much just checks off all my boxes. I'm on my second one, having filled up the first (which, weirdly, had a stiffer cover...I prefer the bendy one though.)

Oh Sew Betty Chevron Clutch
Oh Sew Betty is a local crafter who has the cutest dang clutches. I love this dyed linen one too... perfect for notions or small projects.

Triggertrap hooks your smartphone up to your DSLR to give you way more control than your usual remote trigger. Awesome for photographing FOs when no one else is around! Plus it has cool tricks like sound trigger or motion trigger, so you could, say, shout or clap or jump in the air to take the picture. Waaant.

Fashionary Notebooks
Great for designers, though I've used mine most when deciding how to style things for photoshoots! Each page has a lightly printed croquis (a body figure) printed on it so you can draw your garments on top of it. Indispensable for design submissions- it makes your sketches look way more pro with a minimum of effort.

Black Trillium Fibre Studio Gradient Kit
Black Trillium has been killing it with the gradients lately. And by "it" I mean "me", killing me, because I WANT THEM ALLLLL.

And in the center:

Tape Measure Bracelet
Because being on the go is no excuse for not checking your gauge! (Okay, granted, the ones made out of vintage tape measures like this one here are probably a bit inaccurate because they stretch over time...but better than nothing, and they look nice! These things are all over etsy so you could probably find a newer, more accurate one if you wanted to. They'd be easy to DIY too!)

Other suggestions.... Cooperative Press has a ton of great new books out (Doomsday Knits isn't quite out yet but is available for preorder, and should be out before Christmas). I couldn't pick just one to stuff in the overcrowded collage, so...yeah. Brooklyn Tweed is still selling those adorable sweater cards.  And have you looked at the Ravelry minimart lately? They've got some super cute project bags, (and nail polish!) Oh I could go on..... maybe I need to do a volume 2.

So what'd I miss? What's on your guys's lists this year? 

(Disclaimer: I'm not affiliated with or sponsored by any of these products and I've only used some of them personally... it's just stuff I think is cool!) 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013


OMG it's a pattern that has nothing to do with the end of the world! Introducing Flabbergash...



 Flabbergash features the delightfully textured Berroco Abode yarn. Abode comes in the prettiest, subtle, layered-ish colors- quite lovely. Of course you could also work this in smooth yarn and bold colors for a different but still very cool look. Three gashes are worked into an otherwise straightforward striped hat to give a peek at a contrast color underneath. 


 And here's a glimpse at my new makeshift photo set up:


I figured out that if I put the camera in the bathroom by the window and shoot out into the hall I get just the right amount of light on these blechy gray days... 

 In any case! You can find Flabbergash on Ravelry here, or 


Monday, December 2, 2013

Tomorrow's Rainbow

For some reason the mental image of my grandmother's 70's-y, rainbow duvet cover set (Wamsutta Ultracale Tomorrow's Rainbow, or so I've just discovered they are called) has always stuck with me. I guess they're fairly iconic, for bedsheets, as I've come across them in movies several times since childhood- Urban Outfitters even sold a remake for awhile. But for me, they always drag me back into the headspace of a 7 year old, sneaking a peek into my grandmother's surprisingly colorful bedroom where I was almost certainly not supposed to be playing.

And also, they are super damn groovy, and needed to be made into an equally groovy ski hat.

How have I never made rainbow pompoms before?? A grievous oversight!!

There is no pattern for this hat, as it's basically a variation on Varia or Zam (start with either, remove the colorwork, add stripes.) But I'll give you a rundown of the colors in case you want 'em! All are Malabrigo Merino Worsted. The main color, obviously, is Natural. The stripes, 2 rows of each, from the bottom up:

-Bobby Blue
-Ravelry Red

For the rainbow pompom, I used my trusty Clover pompom maker, and you just wrap one color after another. You could also wrap them at the same time for more of a mixed-up look. 

I'm pretty sure this is exactly the sort of knitting legacy my grandmother (who was British and made beautiful Aran sweaters from hardwearing, undyed British wool) meant to leave ;-) Tooottally. 

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Doomvember: Filled with Dread and a Recap!

Well here we are, safely on the other side of Doomvember, mostly intact (I hope.) The digital version of Doomsday Knits will be dropping any day now (we're in the super-final-double-checking-everything stage). In addition to the patterns you just saw, the book includes lots of reviews and recommendations for apocalyptic media, and even a few survival tips. Oh, and one last not-quite-knit project, tucked away in the "Kill All Humans" chapter...


You can't be a punked-out cyberbabe without technicolor dreads! And luckily for us knitters, wool is the material of choice for faux-dreads (not just among crafty types, either- this stuff is punk approved.) The truly hardcore dreadfallers felt individual ropes of wool roving for a super custom look, but these dreads use Colinette Point Five, a pure wool thick-and-thin yarn (along with some glowing jelly yarn and tulle scraps) for a slightly less labor-intensive route. And yes, there are "how to attach them to your head" instructions in the book too ;-) 

And with that, the tour is now officially over. Did you miss some posts? No matter, I can catch you up right now:

10/31- Fallout- Dull Roar
11/1- Fatigued- Not So Granny
11/2- Grom-Mitts- Guest post by Brenda K.B. Anderson on Dull Roar
11/3- Circuit- Spillyjane Knits
11/4- Desert Warrior- A Pile of Sheep
11/5- Alternating Current- Dull Roar
11/6- Fennec- Knitted Alternately On a Sofa
11/7- Ringmaster- Theatre of Yarns
11/8- Apocketmitts- Flossie Knits
11/9- Oxygenate- MLemmons Designs
11/10- I Was a Teenaged Mutant- Dull Roar
11/11- Fission- Through the Looking Glass
11/12- Long Road Ahead - Katherine Vaughan Designs
11/13- Ozone- Guest post by Rebecca Zicarelli on Dull Roar
11/14- Thrumviator- PDXKnitterati
11/15- Oh Bondage! - Dull Roar
11/16- Utility Corset- Thorn Maiden
11/17- Bulletproof- guest post by Alexandra Virgiel on Dull Roar
11/18- Ditch the Tech- DovieJay Knits
11/19- Oryx- The Knitting Vortex
11/20- Wayfarer- Knitting Like Crazy
11/21- Lunar Progression- Argent Gal Designs
11/22- Forager- Dull Roar
11/23- Rattlebone- Sarah Bear Crafts
11/24- Baby's First Principles- Republic of Yarn
11/25- Alpaca-lypse- Baah Baah & Black Sheep
11/26- Quaintrelle- Sillylittlelady's
11/27- Survivor- Guest post by Mara Marzocchi on Dull Roar
11/28- Suture- Dull Roar
11/29- Battle Ready- Guest Post by Suesan Roth on Dull Roar
11/30- Technologica- Dull Roar

And once more (with feeling!)... you can learn more about Doomsday Knits or preorder a copy over at Cooperative Press. The digital version will be out later this month, with paper following soon after. You can also preorder (and check out all the patterns in one place) over on Ravelry. 

And finally, one more big huge THANK YOU to the photographer, Vivian Aubrey, and to all the models- Katy, Ruby, Emily, and Kelsy (and also Lee for her assistance on set!)

Whew! Okay! I'll shut up about the apocalypse for a little while now ;-) Til the book comes out, anyway...

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Doomvember: Technologica

Here we are, on the last day of Doomvember (well, pretty much... we'll get to that.) This pattern is probably my favorite of the ones I designed for Doomsday Knits, probably because it makes me feel like Judy Jetson-gone-badass.

Meet Technologica. As you can probably guess if you've been following along at home, this one is part of the "Kill All Humans" robot-rebellion-singularity-technopocalypse. 

Technologica features significant waist-shaping on the back to really cling to your curves, and a vaguely Aeon-Fluxian chest slit to balance the mock turtleneck with a peek of skin. Itty-bitty cap sleeves leave your arms free for maximum movement, and edges are left raw and rolled for just a touch of that retro-futurism-rings-look.

The yarn is Austermann Merino Silk which was sadly discontinued at some point while the book was in editing (blast!!) But anything smooth and worsted weight will do just fine- a little silk adds some extra slink and luxury. Madelinetosh Pashmina Worsted would be a gorgeous sub. 

^ The best my butt has ever looked in a photograph. Which isn't saying much, 
since it's almost entirely in shadow, but I'll take it. Go Vivian go! 

Weeellllp, that about wraps it up! Thank you so much for joining us on this month-long Doomstravaganza! Tomorrow I have a surprise bonus project for you (hint, it involves yarn, but no knitting) and a Doomvember recap with links to all the posts. You can also check out all the patterns on the Ravelry source page (if you preorder there, the book will pop into your library as soon as it's available.) 

ALSO, TODAY ONLY: Cooperative Press is having a Small Business Saturday sale and you can get 10% off your purchase with the code "sbs"- that includes Doomsday preorders! Both print and pdf are available for preorder now- the pdf will be out sometime in the next month (we're in the very last editing stages) and the print book will follow shortly after :-) 

Friday, November 29, 2013

Doomvember: Battle Ready by Suesan Roth

Today we have our last Doomvember guest post, by Suesan Roth. Over to you, Suesan!

Battle Ready is inspired by one of my favorite sci-fi shows – Firefly. I based it off of two of my favorite characters: Zoe who is strong & powerful and Inara who is soft & peaceful. I wanted to combine those characteristics into one brilliant vest.

In my head, I see the woman wearing this vest – let’s say her name is Angel. She’s on Earth looking for survivors after the fall out with her ship hidden and after gathering what supplies she could find – she hears a voice crying for help. Knowing that her vest is reversible, she wears the armor pattern out just in case… It’s the attitude boost she needs to feel tough. It also signals to her crew to come guns blazing. As she approaches she sees a gang of thugs terrorizing some homeless children. "Such jerks," she mutters under her breath. The thugs look up and immediately are attracted to the feminine lines of the vest accenting her curves. Just the distraction she needs as she whips out her weapons of choice, straight metal knitting needles size 12 – hey if you have ever been poked with one of these you know – it hurts. She jumps into action, because the vest has high slits on the sides she is able to kick butt without restraint. Will the vest survive the battle? Yes, it’s not made with just any yarn but with the finest Malabrigo Arroyo 100% Superwash Merino Wool yarn which everyone knows is super soft and extra durable. Enemies down, she hurries to the scared children and says, "You’re coming with me, and you’re safe now." Heading back to the ship she reverses the vest to the ribbed pattern so her crew will know that all is peaceful, at least for now…

Whether you are battling thugs or just the morning rush hour you will look fierce. The vest is worked using a simple puff stitch design and centered increases, which create beautiful lines on the front and back of the vest also giving it the armored appearance. The waist is shaped using increases and decreases on the sides creating an hourglass shape. I used toggle closures that you can find at any craft store or wear this with a large leather belt instead.

Our heroine is putting on the matching gauntlets as she gets her ship ready for space, their new home. Her thoughts are with the children on board, “What can I knit for them…hmmmm?”

Thanks Suesan! You can find Battle Ready on Ravelry here! Or, as I'm sure you know by now, learn more about Doomsday Knits or preorder a copy over at Cooperative Press.  Just one more day of Doomvember left!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Doomvember: Suture

Happy Doomsgiving, one and all! Let's all go around the table and say what we're Doomful for, then dig into this "turkey." Yes....turkey....sure.


Today's Doomvember pattern is Suture! This hat uses a technique I've been toying with for a few years now (I think I made the first prototype in the car on the way to Michigan from Portland in fall of 2010, so... yeah, awhile.) It involves using long floats on the front of the work which you then pick up later as if you were fixing a dropped stitch. The result is a weird ladder effect that causes ruching and gathering. 

The finished look is a bit creepy and "stitched up"...  "zombie couture" maybe? Or, at the very least, a good way to keep those brains hot and tasty (in some luscious Madelinetosh, too. Nom.) 

Suture can be found in the "Miscellaneous Mayhem" section of the book, and on Ravelry here. Learn more about the book or grab a preorder over on the Cooperative Press website! You can also preorder on Ravelry and have it delivered straight into your library the second it's released.

We're almost done with the Doomvember tour- you can see the schedule here, or you can just stick around because the last few posts are all here on Dull Roar ;-) 

And finally- a very happy and tasty Thanksgiving to the US folks, and a happy Hanukkah to those who celebrate! (Is it okay to put gravy and cranberry sauce on latkes? Because that sounds yummy....)  

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Doomvember: Survivor by Mara Marzocchi

Today we have a guest post from designer Mara Marzocchi! 

So it's my turn to talk about my contribution to Doomsday Knits (with thanks to Alex for giving me a soap box), the Survivor Socks.

No matter what brand of apocalypse comes (hence the inclusion in the Miscellaneous Mayhem section), the folks who are left are going to have to crawl out of the wreckage of the old world and wander into the brave new tomorrow. And since it's likely that the modern conveniences of central heating and chemical footwarming packs will become a thing of the past, socks are going to be a necessary part of that wandering.

These socks, like the survivors themselves, show off their scars proudly. Are they caused by the grasping fingers of zombies or the snag of concertina wire as the wearer finds shelter? That's not for me to say. Either way, you can get the pattern as part of Doomsday Knits when it's out in December, but you can pre-order now!

You can find Survivor on Ravelry here! Tomorrow, Alex is back with another pattern out of the Miscellaneous Mayhem (good no matter what flavor of doom you have!), Suture.

Thanks Mara! It actually looks like the last few days of the tour are all here on Dull Roar - not really intentional, but hey! How the Doomvember has flown...

Sunday, November 24, 2013


In the middle of all this Doomsday madness, I'm sneakin' in a little somethin' somethin' else:


French for "Clock", Horloge is named for the hourglass-esque figure "drawn" with tiny cables and texture changes. It is knit inside-out to achieve the reverse-stockinette backdrop without doing too much purling, and the cables are tiny and easy enough that you can skip the cable needle, if you're feeling brave. Squooshy Plucky Knitter Primo Aran (in "Sticky Toffee", yum) has great stitch definition and is an absolute pleasure to work with.



 You can find Horloge on Ravelry here, or

Friday, November 22, 2013

Doomvember: Forager

Today's Doomvember pattern is one of mine, and *gasp* it's a garment!! (Those rad gloves are in the book too of course, we'll get to those tomorrow ;-) ) 

Meet Forager: 

This pattern was named by Britney Dyer, one of our awesome Kickstarter supporters!

Part of the Wasteland Vagabonds chapter, Forager is a vest and cowl combo garment, asymmetrical and easy as pie, both drapey and airy in a wonderful crepe-y silk called Heichi from Shibui Knits. Perfect for a long ramble through the bombed-out hinterlands in search of something (or someone) to hunt or gather. 

The bandana-pointed cowl neck is detached from the vest, and so each can be worn separately. The vest closes with a shawl pin (or any ole stick you can find out there)- no fussy buttons to pop off and get lost in the wilderness. Originally I thought I'd put sleeves on it but somehow they felt like they'd be too much. Better to keep the arms free for maximum ease of movement, y'know? You never know what you'll run up against out there, you have to be ready to swing that stick at a moment's notice. 

Incidentally, did you know that "a really great stick" is something you can rent from a costume shop? I did not! But it's true! And it's pretty much the only rented object in the whole book, haha. 

A huge thanks to my former boss Emily for wandering around pantless in the cold, making forlorn faces, and to Vivian for the photos (and poor baby Anaiah for riding around on mom's back all day with relatively little protest!) 

You can check out Forager on Ravelry here, and learn more about Doomsday Knits (now up for preorder!) at the Cooperative Press website.

We are about 2/3rds of the way through Doomvember already! My, how time flies. The tour schedule is here, and be sure to check out tomorrow's post about those awesome mitts over at Sarah Bear Crafts!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Doomvember: Bulletproof by Alexandra Virgiel

Today we hear from fabulous designer (and our intrepid tech editor) Alexandra Virgiel!! Take it away other-Alexandra!

One of the things I love about sci-fi is the things it gets wrong about the future. Nothing illuminates the past so well as reading the past's conception of the future.

Picture from

 For example: We have not annihilated the planet in an insane arms race with the godless Communists. That's a big one. It's way past the year 2000 and we're not living in space, nor do we have flying cars. The future is not made of mod white and red polymers with rounded edges as in 2001 (we got the cheap plastic everything, but without the style), nor is it a Roddenberryian utopia where nobody smokes or uses money (still smoking, and nobody has any money, which isn't the same thing). And, most importantly, we're not all wearing jumpsuits, though it is instructive to go to Target on a Saturday and count the people who aren't wearing the national uniform of jeans-and-whatever.

Usually the most jarring anachronisms are the throwaway ones, though. Last night I was reading Solaris (Lem is excellent for insomnia), which takes place in some undefined future where we're traveling all over the galaxy, and the protagonist notices someone's smallpox inoculation scar. Apparently visiting faraway planets ain't no thing, but eradicating smallpox? That'll never happen.


Bulletproof was inspired by a paragraph in William Gibson's Neuromancer, describing the freelance muscle, Molly:
She took off her black jacket; the fletcher hung beneath her arm in a black nylon shoulder rig. She wore a sleeveless gray pullover with plain steel zips across each shoulder. Bulletproof, Case decided, slopping coffee into a bright red mug.
Remember when synthetics were going to solve all of our clothing problems? We understood that in the future, our clothes would be sleek, stylish, washable, and adapted to all conditions. Better living through chemistry! Technical fabrics and armor have certainly improved, but the average Jane is still slopping around in odor-absorbing, static-generating polyester that wouldn't stop a mosquito, never mind a bullet.

Bulletproof is knit with double-stranded Berroco Comfort DK, a very respectable acrylic/nylon blend. It will not, regrettably, protect you in case of gunfire. There is such a thing as Kevlar yarn (you can buy it on ebay!), but it's a weird petroleum jelly yellow, and I would guess it isn't any fun to knit with. (And, y'know, it's probably not actually bulletproof as a hand knit.) Comfort DK is soft and blocks surprisingly well. Suggested shades: black jeans, metallic-taste-in-your mouth gray, and the color of television tuned to a dead channel. (Which is also an anachronism, alas. My dead channels are black with a box that says "not authorized.")


The vest has twisted rib panels along the sides, for a body-conscious fit without increases or decreases. It is knit in the round to the armholes, then flat to the shoulders. The back shoulder straps wrap to the front and are angled off with short rows. Metal separating zippers finish it off. Why does a stretchy knit vest need zippers? The same reason everyone in The Matrix needed shiny leather pants. It's for strategic, um, hacking purposes. Yeah.


Bulletproof is on Ravelry here. 

To pre-order Doomsday Knits or learn more about the book, click on over to Cooperative Press. 

Photos by Vivian Aubrey.

Thanks Alexandra! Why DID we get the cheap plastic without the style? I feel ripped off. The past's future was way cooler than the real future. 

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