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Archive for 2013

Sotis Cloth Wrap-up

I decided that this past weekend was the time to finish off the warp on my portable “Baby Mac” loom.  This was what was left from the 3-day “Warp-Faced Weaves” workshop I took in June from Kay Faulkner at the ANWG Conference in Bellingham.  I had previously done a sampler and hoped I had enough warp left for 4 placemats.

I had also worked out various motifs for pick-up in the sotis areas, using Excel for a charting tool.  The plan was to do all the mats the same, except put a different pick-up motif in the 4 corners of each one.

Here’s the first one underway:

first pick-up pattern in sotis cloth areas

first pick-up pattern in sotis cloth areas

I also used, as a guide, Kay Faulkner’s article Sotis Cloth from West Timor in the March/April 2013 issue of Handwoven magazine.  At each end, I wove 1-1/2″ with a single weft in plain weave, to reduce bulk.  These were later turned under twice and sewn down for the final hems.  The body of the mat is woven with a doubled weft.

I only had enough warp to finish 3 mats of the same size, plus another small piece about half their size.  But that is OK, since these are a little wide for a typical placemat (I was stuck with the warp width I had put on, long story).

table mats

 

Will I do this again?  Actually, yes!  But next time, I will use mercerized cotton (for placemats).  For this workshop project, I used Valley Yarns 8/2 Cotton from WEBS, and it is lovely stuff – soft, smooth, strong, great colors.  But on washing, it didn’t so much shrink as “bloom”, especially in the sotis areas where 3 ends go through one heddle (alabaster, in this case) and a single end goes through the other heddle (brown, in this case).  The 3 ends that go together, kind of fluffed up and wound up obscuring the pattern in the wider stripes.  The brown “dots” in these wide stripes are much more visible in the first picture above, on the loom and before washing.

 

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End of Rug Warp

Finally came to the end of the current rug warp – 30 rugs completed, of various sizes, in the last 2 months.  I have more Pendleton selvage material to use up, and things I want to try, but for now I am tired of weaving rugs and ready to do something else on that loom!  I actually started this late last December and have worked my way through two 50-yard warps, weaving 57 rugs and “ruglets” total.

At least they are selling reasonably well – five so far at the Confluence Gallery show, and six so far up at the Lost River Winery tasting room – plus a couple through Winthrop Gallery in the last 2 months.

These two were done in mid-July:

R163 - fiesta orange - sold at winery

R163 – fiesta orange – sold at winery

R164 - smooth red wool selvages - sold at winery

R164 – smooth red wool selvages – sold at winery

Then, with the Confluence Gallery show coming up, I got into what I call “mixed selvages” rugs.  I like to combine a variety of Pendleton blanket selvages, combining both colors and textures (smooth “worms” and the more fringe-like selvages).

R165 - for Confluence show, and sold

R165 – for Confluence show, and sold

R166 - for Confluence show, and sold

R166 – for Confluence show, and sold

I liked the above one so much, I made another for us to keep (always a slight variation as I use up materials, though):

R167 - kept this one!

R167 – kept this one!

R168 was a little “ruglet” and I didn’t get a picture.  These are a great way to use up small amounts of material from a bigger rug.

The rest of these were done in mid-August:

R169 - a new colorway of mixed selvages

R169 – a new colorway of mixed selvages

R170 - slight variant of R169 - I kept this one, too

R170 – slight variant of R169 – I kept this one, too

R171 - royal blue fringe alternating with colored worms

R171 – royal blue fringe alternating with colored worms

R172 - another one for Confluence Gallery, and sold

R172 – another one for Confluence Gallery, and sold

R173 - a third one of this type - for Confluence

R173 – a third one of this type – for Confluence

R174 - and END OF WARP!!

R174 – and END OF WARP!!

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It’s been a busy last 3 weeks, but it’s time to catch up the blog a bit.

The “Inside Out” show opened at the Confluence Gallery in Twisp on Saturday, August 3.  My dad, brother and sister-in-law were still here for the last weekend of the chamber music festival, so we all went down to the gallery the day before to see the show before the official opening.  The actual opening was very well attended so it was a festive atmosphere!

Inside Out opening 8/3/13

Inside Out opening 8/3/13

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more folks at the opening

The following weekend, Rick’s sister and a friend of hers came over to see the Confluence Gallery show, our exhibit up at the Lost River Winery tasting room, and go on the annual Home Tour which is organized by the Confluence Gallery.  They request that people not take pictures of the homes on the tour, so I am afraid I have none to show.  The theme this year was “Eclectic Methow” (eclectic:  deriving ideas, style, or taste from a broad and diverse range of sources) and we did see some very interesting homes and sites.

Here are a few more pictures I took at the gallery:

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one of my rugs on chair in background

There must be some magic to having one of my rugs displayed on that chair – as of yesterday, I have sold three rugs off that chair!  I believe all of them were sold to people visiting the valley from out of town (I know one was shipped to California).

Summer Wednesdays mean jazz night in the beer garden at the Twisp River Pub.  Last week we went down for dinner and music with the Pasayten Quartet and Laura Love on vocals.  She not only has a great voice, she is a real entertainer!

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The weekend of the Home Tour (August 10-11) there were strong thunderstorms with wind and heavy rain at times, mostly at night.  We actually had a beautiful sunny day for the home tour itself, thank goodness.  But this resulted in major mudslides up in the North Cascades that shut down Highway 20 for a little over a week!    It is reported they had to remove 3000 dump truck loads of gooey mud and rocks, plus repair guard rails, set up new drainage systems, and repair damaged roadway.

We drove over to the Coast on Sunday August 18th for a family gathering, and had to go over Stevens Pass, which was actually fine until we hit the little towns on the west side.  Between low speed limits and traffic signals, it got pretty clogged up.  But we made it to Camano Island to get together with my Dad, my two siblings and their spouses (sister and brother in law came from Colorado) and one of my nieces and her fiance, who had flown in from Texas.  It was totally worth the drive over to see everyone!

clan gathering 1

clan gathering 1

clan gathering 2

clan gathering 2

They re-opened the pass the next morning, so we were able to drive home over the “North Cross” highway.  The lakes behind the dams (power for Seattle City Light) were an amazing milky blue-green color, presumably due to all the silt in the water from the heavy rains.

Ross Lake - August 19, 2013

Ross Lake – August 19, 2013

Washington Pass Overlook

Washington Pass Overlook – headwaters of the Methow Valley

I have been weaving a lot of rugs, but will save those pictures for the next post.  It’s time to move on with my day!

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Summertime has brought us a number of social events.  A few weeks ago there was a fundraising dinner for Confluence Gallery & Art Center, held at Pipestone Canyon Ranch (over the hills east of Twisp).  With about 150 people in attendance, it was a lively and festive evening in a beautiful setting, with good food, good conversation, and both silent and live art auctions.

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Some people may have gone home with something they didn’t absolutely need

P1020847but obviously folks were there to support Confluence on its 25th anniversary, and in fact I heard they raised over $25,000!

A week later we attended an outdoor dinner party, down by the Twisp River, that had grown from a guest list of 16 to over 40!  Unfortunately my pictures came out too blurry (not because of imbibing, but because of low light levels….honest!).  Hosted by Canadians, attended by Canadians and even a couple from England, and of course the local contingent.

This past week my family has been here for all 5 concerts of the Methow Valley Chamber Music Festival (July 25 – August 3).  My Dad drove over in his RV and is camped in the front yard.  Brother and sister-in-law are here as well and we have weathered 100 degree weather, turning to cool and thundershowers this week.

MV Chamber Music 2013 2

MV Chamber Music 2013 3

Tomorrow a new show opens at Confluence Gallery, and Rick has several pieces in it – me, a couple of new rugs.  The title of the show is Inside Out (“An exploration and celebration of designed interior and exterior space, and the objects and forms we use to define them..”) He helped with the setup this week and took a few pictures:

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Sorting Out Sotis

A few days ago I finally unfolded my Baby Mac workshop loom, got out my notes from Kay Faulkner’s 3-day workshop on Warp-Faced Weaves at the ANWG Conference in June, and went back to figuring out what to do with my 4-yard warp.  I last blogged about it in this post after the conference.  I hadn’t made it much farther than getting the warp on the loom.

My warp is threaded for a combination of plain weave sections alternated with the Sotis cloth (patterns from West Timor).  Kay’s notes are based on a nomenclature she came up with that makes sense to her, but isn’t terribly clear until you figure it out.  I also had her article from Handwoven Mar/Apr 2013, and studying the weaving pattern from that was a great help.  I wound up making my own notes about how to weave the 6 basic patterns she gave us.

Basic Sotis patterns 1-4

Basic Sotis patterns 1-4

Basic Sotis patterns 5-6

Basic Sotis patterns 5-6

In the above photo, you can see where I was trying the “warp wrapping” with a banana yellow color, in one of the plain weave areas.  Not with a great deal of success.  However, I am not sure I want to use this technique in my project so may or may not follow up with more experimentation.

I was more interested in getting a pattern motif in the Sotis areas, which has to be done with manual pickup of threads for this simple threading.  After a first attempt, I was starting to understand how this works, and made a plan for a motif.

Sotis motif plan

Sotis motif plan

and what do you know – it worked!

Sotis pickup

Basically, this is done within the context of Basic Pattern 4.  In my sampler, of the 60 heddles threaded for each side section, 30 are threaded with a single dark brown thread (can be thought of as “tabby a” for the section) and the other 30 alternate heddles are threaded with 3 cream threads run together (can be thought of as “tabby b” for the section).  The ones with 3 threads are referred to as “heavy”, to alternate with the dark brown “fine” threads.  But, those 30 heavy threads can also be lifted in alternating groups of 15.  This is how you get some of the patterns.  The pickup motif is done on a ground of basic pattern 4, where one bar uses just heavy “a” and the next bar uses heavy “b”.

I may try out the “exposed weft” technique next, then move on to weaving some placemats using combinations of the basic patterns, and incorporating my little pickup motif.

I also now know why Kay does some of her more elaborate Sotis pieces on a 24-harness computer loom, where she can treadle the Sotif motifs and not use pickup!  It works, but is slow and for now at least, requires vigilant attention to detail.

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The $11 Solution

Several months ago someone gave me part of an older Nilus LeClerc double-ended electric bobbin winder.  She had gotten it years ago with a loom purchase, but “some of the parts didn’t make it into the box”.  Specifically, it was missing the end that slides in a groove, and the rheostat foot control.

Leclerc hybrid before fix

I tried to get the missing part but the people at LeClerc (in Quebec) said this was an older style and they don’t keep spare parts for older machines.  Studying the pictures on their website, I could see that the new ones have the spring mounted down in the groove, not on the shaft of the part that slides in the groove (which is what this one would have had).  So I figured I was out of luck.

At the ANWG conference at the end of June, someone was selling some old weaving equipment in one of the booths.  Among this was an older Nilus LeClerc double-ended winder.  So I took a chance and bought it.  I should have been more careful in checking it out, because when I got home the foot control (wrapped up and taped in paper) was broken.  However, I could get it fixed at a sewing machine shop in Wenatchee, although as it turns out Rick was able to take it apart, bend a flange back into place, and put it back together all cleaned up and oiled.  So now I had a working winder!  You can see how the spring is mounted in this picture.  The moving part is tightened down with wing nuts from below, once positioned in the groove for a particular bobbin length.

LeClerc winder from ANWG conf

In the meantime, I got to wondering if LeClerc couldn’t sell me a new base plate and moving end from their current model.  So after some back and forth with calls and emails, they agreed to this and it came last week.   Or at least, they sent the moving part and a spring – not the base with the groove!  I guess I didn’t communicate clearly what I was expecting.  However, I am fortunate to be married to a guy who is both handy and handsome (a Red Green Show reference).

He had to trim the wood that slides in the groove – very carefully, on the table saw, until it fit just right.  Then he had to re-position the motor so the two ends that hold the bobbin line up (in a brand new winder, the motor is a different model and is offset on one side).  He had to figure out how to mount the spring in the groove from below.  But in the end, it worked great!  Here is my hybrid winder:

LeClerc hybrid winder 1

new sliding part on left, old motor end (re-positioned) on right

LeClerc hybrid winder 2

I still have to get a foot control, but the sewing machine store in Wenatchee says they have a box full of old used sewing machine rheostat foot controls with plug for motor and light that I can get for $10-$15 (just like the one on the ANWG conference one, which I have been using for now).

Now I have been using it to wind off spun singles from my spinning wheel’s Woolee Winder bobbin onto plastic spools.  I learned this from Judith MacKenzie – spin all your fiber and put on plastic storage bobbins as you go, then ply from those bobbins.  Saves a ton of money on extra spinning wheel bobbins.

But the electric winder goes like a bat out of hell, and I had to just barely depress the foot pedal to keep it slow enough.  Otherwise the spun singles would break – they are a lot more “tender” than weaving yarns you would wind off a cone onto a bobbin.  It was hard to control the speed, and when I was done, the foot pedal itself was really hot.

So this is where we get to the $11 solution part.  I had picked up a tip from one of Peggy Osterkamp’s books that you could use a plug-in dimmer switch between the wall outlet and the foot control, as an extra rheostat.  But none of our local valley hardware stores had such an item – they just have the kind that are wired into a light switch on the wall.  So I went online and found this on Amazon:

lamp dimmer for winder

It totally solved the problem.  I plugged the dimmer into the outlet, plugged the foot control into the dimmer, then adjusted the sliding control until the winder was turning at a slowish speed with the pedal fully depressed.  The speed stayed nice and constant so I could concentrate on tensioning the yarn and filling the bobbin evenly.  The foot pedal wasn’t hot at all when I was done.  And this item only cost about $11!

So now I guess I will try to sell the one I got at the conference, and keep the “hybrid”.

Final note:  4 rugs finished this week.  The first three were an order from friends for their home at Lochaerie Resort on Lake Quinault – Chris picked the materials from my stash of Pendleton selvages when they were here last April.

R159 Lochaerie 1

R159 Lochaerie 1

R160 Lochaerie 2

R160 Lochaerie 2

R161 Lochaerie 3

R161 Lochaerie 3

R162 - fiesta time!

R162 – fiesta time!

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We had an inquiry here about the construction of one of the tables Rick made for the various shows in the valley, and it made me realize I had never posted pictures of the two pieces he finished for our exhibit at the Lost River Winery tasting room in Winthrop.

Entry table with Western Bigleaf Maple live-edge top and shelf, and East Indian black walnut legs:

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The legs on this piece were done a little differently than on the bench and small table shown in a previous post.  On those, the maple legs were formed in a V-shape using 2 pieces of wood at each end.  For this entry table, he used black walnut; the end pieces are single pieces of wood and are angled so as to make a parallelogram, with a shelf connecting them.

He also made a lovely little wine cabinet out of clear vertical grain (CVG) fir:

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All photos were taken by Teri J. Pieper – Reflected Light Images.

Last week I finally got around to making a flyer for our exhibit to post around the valley.  If you are here visiting, come by the tasting room – it will be there until mid-September.

WW&W flyer

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Powerless

There was a fire over the Loup on the Omak side yesterday, and they “de-energized” the transmission line to the Methow Valley at 2:30 yesterday afternoon.   Here’s a link to the brief report on the Methow Grist this morning.

The original estimates were that power would be out for 12-24 hours, depending on how quickly they could control the fire and how much damage was done to pole structures on the transmission line.  We got out the LED battery lanterns from our camping equipment, filled water containers (for drinking and flushing toilets) and got the Honda generator going.  We hadn’t run it in years and it had old gas in it, but fortunately, after some freshening-up, it started and ran fine.  This let us power the refrigerator, a few lamps, and even the TV and DVD player, so we could watch some Netflix after it got dark.  We may need to come up with a way to power the pump and pressure tank for our well in future, in case of an extended outage.

Anyway, we went to bed about 11 pm and left a bedside light turned on.  About 11:30 pm power came back on!

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I have been spending a lot of time weaving rugs the last couple of weeks, since returning from the weaving conference in Bellingham.  I used up the last of the warp I had on that loom doing these:

"Ruglets" R143 & R144

“Ruglets” R143 & R144

R145 - sold last weekend at Winthrop Gallery

R145 – sold last weekend at Winthrop Gallery

"Ruglets" R146 & R147

“Ruglets” R146 & R147

"Ruglets" R148 & R149

“Ruglets” R148 & R149

R150 - Pendleton wool shirting selvages

R150 – Pendleton wool shirting selvages

I am now working my way through my still rather large collection of Pendleton blanket and shirting selvages – trying to make some headway on using up materials I gathered at the mill outlets over the last several years.  When I don’t have much of something left, I am either working it into a full size rug along with other colors and textures, or making “ruglets”.  These are about 18″ x 30″ and I have found them useful around our house, at least, as hearth mats, bench mats, cat mats, small floor mats, or whatever.

Around July 1st I wound a new rug warp (about 47 yards) onto the sectional beam, and tied it on to the existing threading and pulled it through to the front beam.  No sleying and threading, I love it!  I also like the colors in the new warp.

rug warp June 2013

happiness is a new warp!

I had wound new warps for placemats (on Kingston the 32″ Macomber) and undulating twill towels (on Mother Mary’s loom, the 40″ Mac at the guild room) before leaving for conference.  Got the one for Kingston tied on, pulled through and wound onto the back beam, also the first week of July.  I am not sure when I will start actually weaving on these, but here is a picture with some of the fabrics I will be using:

placemat warp and fabrics ready for action

placemat warp and fabrics ready for action

Then it was back to rug weaving.  I am having a lot of fun combining different types and colors of the Pendleton selvages, and using up my stash in a creative way.  I finished these last week before leaving for the Coast on July 5th:

R151 - pretty much the same as R150 at the end of the previous warp

R151 – pretty much the same as R150 at the end of the previous warp

R152 - a small mat using up the last of these 2 colors

R152 – a small mat using up the last of these 2 colors

R153 - gray/teal shirting selvages alternated with bright "worms" at the ends

R153 – gray/teal shirting selvages alternated with bright “worms” at the ends

R154 - same approach, different colored "worms:

R154 – same approach, different colored “worms”

R155 - alternated with "worms" throughout, but changing colors

R155 – alternated with “worms” throughout, but changing colors

My rug numbers, by the way, (Rxxx) indicate the number of rugs I have woven since I bought my first loom about 6 years ago.  The woman I bought it from wove nothing but rugs, and she got me started.  That was all I did the first 6 months or so.

This week I finished three more, very similar to the ones I did back in June before weaving conference.

R156 - using same materials as R142

R156 – using same materials as R142

R157 & R158 - same materials as R140 and using up the last of it, too!

R157 & R158 – same materials as R140 and using up the last of it, too!

In between, we went to the coast to visit family & friends, and celebrate Rick’s 65th birthday.

Rick's 65th 1Rick's 65th 2

It’s been lovely here in the valley – we have had enough rain on and off to keep things relatively green.  There have been a couple of really hot spells (high 90’s) alternated with temps in the 80’s, thundershowers, etc.  We drove back into the valley last Sunday, coming over the North Cascades Hwy, to encounter a total downpour by the time we reached Winthrop!  By later that evening, however, the storm had moved off and it was back to warm and dry.

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Tired But Happy

I got home yesterday afternoon after a week in Bellingham at the NW Weavers’ Conference.  What a week!  Western Washington University was the venue, and the grounds and staff were wonderful.  We were in dorm rooms (I opted for a single) so the accommodations were rather spartan, but the bed was comfortable and my dorm was quiet.

Tuesday through Thursday I took a 3-day pre-conference workshop with Kay Faulkner from Australia.  The title was “East Meets West:  Warp Faced Weaves”.  She had an article in the March/April 2013 issue of Handwoven magazine on Textiles of West Timor, including a project with sotis cloth, which was one of the types of patterns we were going to do.  Here is the workshop description:

“Most weavers look towards European and American weave structures for inspiration. Some real gems can be found in Eastern textiles. Warp faced textiles in SE Asia are usually woven on back strap looms but they often can be modified to suit multishaft looms. Analysis of ethnic textiles will provide some interesting additions of technique for the hand weaver. They include warp manipulation, warp wrapping, weft patterning on warp faced cloth. These techniques can then be combined with Western structures to achieve interesting cloth. Consideration will also be given to maximizing the potential of your loom while combining structures.”

It turned out the main effort in the class was designing your warp and getting it on the loom.  I decided to make an 8-inch wide piece, 4 yards long, so I could sample the techniques to be shown in class, and have enough left for 1-2 scarves.  Well, it took me almost 2-1/2 days to get the warp on the loom.  It is sett very closely so only the warp will show.  I was using 8/2 cotton, which means something to a weaver, and my sett was 60 epi (ends per inch).   8″ x 60 = 480 ends right?  Wrong.  It wasn’t until I started actually sleying and threading that I realized my fundamental error, in not taking into account the fact that you thread in pairs of 4 into 2 heddles – 2/2 for stripes in plain weave, 1/3 for the “Sotis” patterns.  So my 480 ends that I had labored over, keeping color order and all, was making a 16″ wide piece, not an 8″ wide piece!  No wonder it took me so long.  By the middle of the last day I was only this far:

sleyed, threaded and tied on - finallly!

sleyed, threaded and tied on – finally!

This was despite the fact I had spent 12 hours in the workshop room the first 2 days.  I was very tired and getting a little frustrated!  It also turned out it would have been much easier to warp the loom from back to front, but by the time she explained that, it was too late for the way I had wound the warp in my usual way for front to back.

On the third day of the workshop, she was demonstrating various techniques, so I tried to take notes and some pictures while she was doing it.  The workshop handout was brief and somewhat cryptic.  Fortunately, there were some women from Seattle Weavers Guild in the class, who were farther along than I was, so I also have some folks to go to with questions.  I did get started on the first set of patterns before we had to pack up on the last day.  And I am excited about my warp, I really like the colors and if I can work my way through the techniques, I should be able to make the rest of it into placemats.  So stay tuned for progress and pictures in the coming month.

Here are some pictures of workshop projects under way:

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Meanwhile, it was fun hanging out with my friends who had also come over for workshops, and meeting new people.  A number of people from the Methow Valley guild came over on Thursday for the actual conference, which includes 3 half-day seminars as part of the registration.  The fashion show on Thursday was fabulous, many wonderful garments, and beautifully presented with music.  These garments were moved to the Western Gallery in the Fine Arts building on campus, where the Instructor Show, Open Show, and Juried Show exhibits were also to be found.

So speaking of the Juried Show, I had two of my polychrome summer & winter scarves accepted for that show.  I had been pleased that the juror, Bhakti Ziek, had written some very nice comments on my entry forms when they came back to me.  Well, as it turns out, she also gave me an award!  Juror’s Choice 1st Place!

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and here is a picture my friend Deb took with her iPhone:

ANWG 2013 awardI took all three half-day seminars from Kay Faulkner as well, as they had sounded the most interesting when I registered back in January.  There were no handouts and lots of information, but I think I got enough of it to feed my brain and creative side for the next year or two.  Tied weaves, double weave (way beyond the basics) and loom-controlled shibori.

There was also a market with vendors big and small.  I behaved myself pretty well, but did come home with a few tools (including a used LeClerc electric bobbin winder) and some lovely alpaca from Vancouver Island, for future spinning projects.  Morrison Creek Alpacas, highly recommended.

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