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Peanut … a salty little hipster nugget

May 28, 2015

Obviously when it comes to style, you want to give your baby the best possible start in life!  This little hipster chic fair-isle vest is a must for going out to spoken word at coffeehouses, and gurgling… ironically.

Peanut Vest

Two little peanuts, deep in debate about the ‘big questions’

When we shot these photos, Max was still in the cute, mellow, gurgling stage. Now he’s in the less cute screeching-at-the-top-of-his-lungs stage… but luckily you can’t hear high-pitched shrieks through the medium of photography.  No chill coffeehouse afternoons with him though, I’ll tell you that!

The Peanut vest knits up really quickly in a DK or worsted weight yarn, and is easy to throw on over anything.  Pick a neutral colour pair for an everyday staple that will match with everything, or go crazy with bold colours. We recommend higher-contrast pairs, so that the pattern really ‘pops’.

Peanut Vest by Tin Can Knits

Max looking cozy in his Peanut vest in The Uncommon Thread Merino DK in ‘squirrel nutkin’ (most adorable colour name ever!) and ‘beeswax’

 

The Yarn: The Uncommon Thread Merino DK

The Uncommon Thread Merino DK

The Uncommon Thread Merino DK in ‘smudge’, ‘seascape’, ‘squirrel nutkin’, ‘golden praline’, and ‘beeswax’

The Uncommon Thread Merino DK is a lusciously soft and durable yarn that is a pleasure to work with and washes and wears well.  This makes it absolutely perfect for baby garments!

We love the edgy and modern colours that Ce creates, and have enjoyed pairing them up! We used the deep marine ‘seascape’ with rich warm ‘golden praline’, and ‘squirrel nutkin’ with ‘beeswax’, a strong yellow. It took some swatching for me to decide on pairings that were just right.  For more about The Uncommon Thread yarns, check out our blog post here.

swatching colourwork pairings

It’s not always obvious how colours will interact just by looking at them in the skein. I find that it is necessary to swatch and swatch again to find out how colours interact.

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These two little cuties, Bodhi and Max, make a perfect pairing! Alexa and I had so much fun with the photography for Max & Bodhi’s Wardrobe! We had 2 photographers, 2 ‘baby wranglers’, and 2 babies who were seldom convinced to stay still at the same time!

Fair Isle Knitting

Stranded colourwork, also known as Fair Isle knitting, looks complex, but is in fact quite a simple technique. You work with two strands of yarn at once, knitting a few stitches in one colour, then knitting the next few in the other colour.  Want to try it?  We’ve got an in-depth blog post with tips and techniques to help you begin.  Either cast on for the peanut vest, or try the free Clayoquot Toque pattern to get started!

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The Peanut Vest from Max & Bodhi’s Wardrobe in The Uncommon Thread Merino DK in ‘seascape’ and ‘golden praline’

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Bodhi is definitely the dominant baby in this pair! Max wasn’t crawling just yet, but Bodhi was motoring around at a mile a minute, only stopping to hit Max on the head now and then for comic effect!

Who are you knitting for?

Max & Bodhi’s Wardrobe is our newest baby collection, launched one pattern at a time to maximize the surprise! The Peanut vest is pattern number five of six, so there’s just one more surprise before the complete ebook is launched! This means you have only two more weeks to get the ebook at excellent pre-order price of $14… after all the patterns are launched the price will go up. If you haven’t decided whether this collection is for you, you can check out all but one of the patterns now!

Rocky Joggers by Tin Can KnitsPlaydate Cardigan by Tin Can KnitsLittle Squirrel Socks by Tin Can KnitsFly Away Blanket by Tin Can Knits

blog-peanut-03Do you have a friend who is expecting? This collection would make a lovely gift for an expectant knitter, or for a grandma eagerly awaiting little ones! If you use Ravelry, there’s a lovely function where you can send an ebook as a gift.

 

Other Fair Isle favourites by TCK:


Clayoquot CardiganMukluksCampfire Pullover

How to knit Fair Isle patterns

May 26, 2015

Many knitters tell us that they’d love to try Fair Isle colourwork knitting, but they think it’s going to be REALLY HARD.  Well I would like to dispel this myth, and show you how simple and fun it really is!  Get started by downloading our adorable free pattern, the Clayoquot Hat.

Clayoquot Toque

The Clayoquot Toque from Road Trip is simple, geometric and sized for the whole family. And it is a free pattern, which is even better!

Start by choosing some lovely DK weight yarn.  We recommend high-contrast colours so that this pattern really ‘pops’.  We have a more in-depth discussion of choosing a palette for colourwork here.

Rainbow Heirloom Sweater

I picked a classic combination! This is Rainbow Heirloom Sweater in ‘new asphalt’, ‘fluffy bunny’, and ‘fighting fish’.

Clayoquot Toque Pattern by Tin Can KnitsDownload the Clayoquot Hat pattern, choose your size, and get started.  This design has a conventional construction: you cast on, work ribbing in the round, then knit a few rounds before starting the pattern.

To work the Fair Isle colourwork pattern, all you do is knit a few stitches in one colour, then switch to another colour, and knit a few stitches in that.  The charts show just how many stitches to do in each colour.

If you are confused about how to read a knitting chart, we have a full tutorial here.  For this pattern it is very simple – start with chart A, and work round one, reading the squares from right to left (because this is the direction you knit in when the RS of the work is facing you).

So for round 1, you will knit 2 sts with MC (main colour), then knit one stitch with CC1 (contrast colour 1), then knit one stitch with MC.  That’s the 4-stitch repeat worked once, then you continue to repeat this pattern, again and again, to the end of the round.  When you change colours, you draw the new yarn loosely across the back of the work, creating loose strands called ‘floats’.

Clayoquot Toque Knitting Chart

The chart for the Clayoquot Toque.

Once you’ve finished round 1 of chart A, you simply proceed to work rounds 2, then 3.  On round 2, you will be working with 3 colours, not just 2, but that round is only worked twice in the entire knit, so it’s not too much bother.

Fair Isle Knitting

As you can see, on Round 2 of chart A, you will be working with 3 colours at once.  The lengths of yarn drawn across the back of the work between stitches are called ‘floats’.

In terms of technique, you can use one hand to hold the yarn, then drop that yarn when you pick up the other yarn, OR you can hold one yarn in your right hand, and the other in your left to ‘throw’ with the right hand and ‘pick’ with the left.  It doesn’t really matter – try both and see with what feels comfortable to you.

Like most techniques in knitting (and everything else I suppose), practice is what you really need to gain competence, but we have put together a few helpful tips below.

LOOSEN UP… this is supposed to be relaxing, right?!

One of the rookie mistakes when knitting fair isle for the first few times is to pull the yarn floats (the strands between the stitches knit in a given colour) tightly across the back of the work, which can compress the gauge of the fair-isle section relative to your stockinette stitch gauge.

Campfire Pullover

Even we get it a little bit wrong sometimes! As you can see, this Campfire Pullover from Pacific Knits had a slightly different gauge at the colourwork section.

There are a few ways to avoid this.  If you know that when you knit fair-isle, you always have a tighter gauge than in stockinette, you can adjust for this by using larger needles (1-2 sizes up) for the stranded portion of the work.  This will help to avoid a ‘squeezed’ section of fair isle that doesn’t match the rest of the gauge.

Another method, which I personally use, is to knit with the work inside out.  This forces the yarn to be drawn along the outside of the cylinder of knitting, rather than along the inside of the cylinder.  This means the floats will be longer by default.

Fair Isle Knitting

Knitting Fair-Isle with the work inside out can help to keep your floats loose and long and your tension even

DOMINANCE… it’s important in knitting too

In Fair Isle knitting, there is a term called ‘yarn dominance’.  Essentially, the yarn that is drawn up from underneath the other yarn creates slightly larger stitches.  This yarn, called the dominant one, ‘pops’ more in the colourwork pattern.  So it is a beneficial habit to always carry the colour that you want to ‘pop’ underneath the other colour.  This also results in the benefit that the backside of the work is very tidy looking and has a beautiful pattern in its own right!  Very satisfying, if you’re a little bit OCD like me.  Ysolda has a more in-depth discussion of why yarn dominance occurs, and how important it is.

When in doubt, BLOCK IT OUT

Ladies and Gentlemen, knitters all if you’ve gotten this far down the page, let me tell you how much I love blocking!  When you are soaking a multi-colour project like the Clayoquot toque, add a little white vinegar to the soaking water, and don’t soak it for too long.  This will help to prevent vivid colours from bleeding one into the other.

Blocking a Fair Isle project

Add some white vinegar to lukewarm water

Blocking a Fair Isle project

Soak your knit for 10-20 minutes.  Then gently squeeze out the water, roll in a towel, then stomp on the towel to get most of the water out.

Blocking a Fair Isle project

Lay it out flat, pat it into shape, then allow to dry, OR…

How to block a hat

Alternatively, insert a plate or other rigid round disc into the hat to flatten out the crown decreases, then leave to dry.

With this smooth, even yarn, and my relaxed even gauge, you can’t see so much of a difference between the pre-blocking and post-blocking fabrics.  But with a ‘woolier’ wool and wonkier tension, you’ll find there is even more benefit to blocking.

Fair Isle after blocking

This is the fair isle pattern after blocking

I LOVE FAIR ISLE… what shall I knit next?

So once you’ve knit a Clayoquot toque for you (and maybe one for everybody else you know too), what will you knit next?  We’ve got a number of cool colourwork projects for you:

Share the Knit Knowledge

Do you have friends who might like to try this free pattern, or benefit from these tips? Share this post, or let them know about all the great free patterns from The Simple Collection.  And join in the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Ravelry!

Tin Can Knits on FacebookTin Can Knits on Instagram Tin Can Knits on Twitter Tin Can Knits on Pinterest Tin Can Knits Email Updates Tin Can Knits on Ravelry

Sweet SweetGeorgia – an interview with Felicia

May 21, 2015

A long long time ago, before I worked at Urban Yarns, discovered Ravelry, met Emily, and started Tin Can Knits, I took a field trip to a wee yarn dying studio in Vancouver called SweetGeorgia. I was just starting to expand my knitting horizons and and Felicia was dying up amazing vibrant colours – I was an immediate fan!

The SweetGeorgia colour range, studio, and team have grown since then. Felicia now has a big studio and her yarn can be found at LYSs everywhere. A lot has changed, but the commitment to unapologetic colour is still going strong! Felicia was good enough to tell us a bit about how she came to the world of yarn and colour, and how she balances running her business with being a mum.

Inside the SweetGeorgia Studio: walls of stunning vibrant colour!

Felicia on colour and starting SweetGeorgia Yarns:

 Colour is something that has always been a significant influence on my life. My father is a painter and printmaker, and I spent my childhood growing up around his oil paints and Pantone markers while also teaching myself to knit and sew my own clothes.

Felicia and her ‘north wind‘ toque

During university, outside of my studies in Pharmaceutical Sciences, I spent all my time and energy as a competitive ballroom dancer. Being a poor student with an expensive dance lifestyle, I ended up sewing all my own ballgowns and costumes. You can’t be a wallflower in competitive ballroom dancing, so much of my colour aesthetic was influenced by the jewel-toned and saturated colours that we wore to capture the judges attention.

After university and six years of dancing, I tried to satisfy my thirst for colour by building a career as a graphic designer and web developer. I picked up knitting again and it sparked an interest in learning to spin my own yarn and dye the wool fibre for it. Learning to dye really deeply spoke to my obsession with exploring all kinds of colour and it became my focus for the blog and later, SweetGeorgia Yarns.

Felicia on balancing work and life:

Well, I constantly wonder how other people do it! It has absolutely been a challenge, finding that balance between all the different roles I play and my responsibilities to each. When I’m with my son Russell, I want to be able to truly be present with him — no phones or email. And when I’m with my husband, family or friends, I want to be present and focused on them too. But this leaves very few hours to get things done for myself or my business. The greatest challenge has been finding the time and space to think. Creativity plummets when you are sleep deprived, exhausted, or run down, so carving out time to rest, think, design, and plan has been important. Above all, I think my relationship with time is different now… I simply feel like every minute makes a difference now and so I try to be more careful how I use those minutes!

Russell, such a cutie!

Felicia on Russell’s knit wardrobe:

I try! During my pregnancy, I knit up a Baby Surprise Jacket in Trinity Worsted (in the colourway Grouse) and I got all the way up to seaming the shoulders and then never finished. Then during the last months of my pregnancy, my wrists swelled up so much that I couldn’t knit. I basically had temporary carpal tunnel syndrome and it hurt to knit more than a few stitches at a time. That’s when I switched to quilting for a bit. But around the time of his first birthday, I started a Gramps cardigan… a Tin Can Knits pattern, of course. Now that he’s 18-months, I’m almost done! Perhaps I’ll have it all seamed up with buttons for his 2nd birthday…

Tulips Shawl

Felicia was one of our first supporters here at Tin Can Knits so we have had ample opportunity to work in her stunning yarns over the years. Our most recent pairing is the Tulips shawl or blanket. Tulips is a classic triangular lace shawl with flowing lace that leads to an edging reminiscent of spring tulips. We knit the shawl in the fabulous Cashsilk lace but you could also knit it as a lacy blanket in worsted.

One of our most popular patterns in SweetGeorgia yarn is the Raindrops pullover. We designed the grown up version in Merino Silk Fine and the kiddie version in Tough Love Sock. Originally released as two separate patterns, Raindrops now comes sized from baby to big all in one! If you already have the pattern, check your email or Ravelry for the updated version.

A big thanks to Felicia for all the wonderful support!

More TCK designs in SweetGeorgia yarns


 

Rocky Joggers

May 14, 2015
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There are some baby images that make grown men and women revert to the ever-reviled baby talk. They can’t help it. For me, baby pants do it every time! Look at those chubby little leggies! Who’s a little cutie pie?…. it devolves from there!

For Max & Bodhi’s Wardrobe we wanted to COVER these babies in knits. Head to toe! This collection wouldn’t be complete without some woollies to cover diaper bums and chubby legs. The Rocky joggers are perfect for heading out for a stroll on a chilly day.  Knit in fingering weight yarn they are light but warm, giving baby room to move.

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Short Rows: A new tutorial!

These joggers use short row shaping to make room for little diaper bums, but don’t be scared!  We have created a new tutorial on German Short Rows to help you through it. I recently discovered this short row method and I am sold, it is a lot easier to keep a good tension and avoid little holes that some other short row methods can leave.

Max rocking a pouty little model lip

Max rocking a pouty little model face!

The Yarn: SweetGeorgia Cashluxe Fine

For the Rocky joggers we had yet another great opportunity to use SweetGeorgia Yarns.  Felicia of  was one of our first supporters here at Tin Can Knits and we always jump at the chance to work with her gorgeous colourways. We designed these pants in Cashluxe Fine in Bison, Tumbled Stone, and Hush.  Tough Love Sock is another great SweetGeorgia yarn for these wee pants too.

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Max & Bodhi’s Wardrobe: 6 new knits all about the babes!

Rocky is one of the 6 designs in Max & Bodhi’s Wardrobe, our newest collection that we are launching one design at a time.  Revel in the surprise and get special preorder pricing of $14 before the last pattern is released!  The first 4 patterns are now available, and on May 28 and June 11 2015 we will bring you the final two designs.

Rocky Joggers by Tin Can KnitsPlaydate Cardigan by Tin Can KnitsLittle Squirrel Socks by Tin Can KnitsFly Away Blanket by Tin Can Knits

Want to knit along with us?  Join in the KAL on the Tin Can Knits Ravelry Group.  There’s support, camaraderie, and PRIZES…now including a skein of Cashluxe Fine!

Tin Can Knits Email UpdatesIf you don’t already get our email updates, now is the time to join!  We’ll tell you as new patterns launch, and share our tips and tricks for beautiful finished projects.

More little knits by TCK:


German Short Rows

May 14, 2015
The Rocky joggers make use of short rows to create room for a diaper bum.

The Rocky joggers make use of short rows to create room for a diaper bum

Well, I think this tutorial is long overdue!  I have struggled with short rows, often having a little hole where I don’t want one, or uneven stitches that needed to be re-distributed.  It seemed nearly impossible to get a perfect tension on them.  But now I have found a method I love!  It is very easy once you get the rhythm and the stitches come out more even, creating a more seamless short row.

Creating Short Rows:

Step 1 (right side): work to the stitch specified in your pattern (for my swatch I worked to 5 sts from the end)

Step 2: turn the work so the wrong side is facing

Sept 3: slip the stitch from the left needle to the right needle purlwise with yarn in front

Step 4: Pull the yarn to the back of the work OVER TOP of the right needle. This will distort the stitch, making it look as if there are 2 stitches instead of 1.

Step 5: Bring the yarn to the front BETWEEN the needles to begin purling.

Step 6: keeping a tighter tension than usual for the first few sts work to the stitch specified in your pattern (again I worked to 5 sts from the end)

Step 7: turn the work so the right side is facing

Step 8: bring the yarn to the front BETWEEN the needles

Step 9: slip the stitch from the left needle to the right needle purlwise with the yarn in front

Step 10: pull the yarn to the back of the work OVER top of the right needle. This will distort the stitch making it look as if there are 2 stitches instead of 1.

Continue in this fashion as specified in your pattern, creating your ‘wrapped’ or ‘doubled’ sts.

step1

Step 1 (right side): work to the st specified in your pattern (for my swatch I worked to 5 sts from the end)

step2

Step 2: turn the work so the wrong side is facing

step3

Sept 3: slip the st from the left needle to the right needle purlwise with yarn in front. You can see that the yarn is in the front of the work. Insert your needle as if you were going to purl, then slip the stitch from the left needle to the right without working it.

step4

Step 4: Pull the yarn to the back of the work OVER TOP of the right needle. This will distort the stitch, making it look as if there are 2 sts instead of 1.

step5

Step 5: Bring the yarn to the front BETWEEN the needles to begin purling.

step6

Step 6: keeping a tighter tension than usual for the first few sts work to the st specified in your pattern (again I worked to 5 sts from the end)

step7

Step 7: turn the work so the right side is facing

step8

Step 8: bring the yarn to the front BETWEEN the needles

step9

Step 9: slip the st from the left needle to the right needle purlwise with the yarn in front

step10

Step 10: pull the yarn to the back of the work OVER top of the right needle. This will distort the stitch making it look as if there are 2 sts instead of 1.

This is how you work your short rows, back and forth, creating extra fabric.

Picking up the wraps / double stitches:

Step 1 (on the right side): Work to the doubled stitch

Step 2: work the the doubled stitch as if it were one (like a knit 2 together)

Step 3 (on the wrong side): work to the doubled stitch

Step 4: work the doubled stitch as if it were one (like  a purl 2 together)

Doubled St

Doubled St

k2tog

purl2tog

Voila! You have worked German Short Rows!

Wanna hear about these tutorials as they are released?  Get our excellent emails!

SHARE the knit knowledge :::

Do you have knitting friends who could use this tutorial?  Share this post, or let them know about the great free patterns they could try from The Simple Collection.  And join in the conversation on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest and Ravelry!

Tin Can Knits on FacebookTin Can Knits on Instagram Tin Can Knits on Twitter Tin Can Knits on Pinterest Tin Can Knits Email Updates Tin Can Knits on Ravelry

More TCK patterns with short rows:


 

Knits for my Mum

May 8, 2015
All the knits for mum over the years

All the knits for mum over the years

I love knitting for my mum. I don’t know if anyone quite appreciates the effort of a hand made item like she does, and I love that I get to see it on her all the time. I have knit her a few things over the years so I asked her to bring her knit wardrobe out for a photo shoot. Well, she showed up with EVERYTHING I had ever knit her and it make quite a nice stack! Without further ado, here is some of my mum’s knit wardrobe:

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I knit this vest 7 or 8 years ago, from a men’s pattern in SweetGeorgia Superwash DK in ‘black plum’ and mum loves it. She wears it to work just like this, over a button down shirt. It’s a lovely wardrobe staple. She has recently requested one with a deeper V for a more feminine look. The wheels are turning!

(clockwise from top left) A Tea Leaves cardi in SweetGeorgia, Paved boot toppers knit by Em Read in SweetGeorgia, Lumberjack socks in Madelinetosh DK, and a Thistle scarf in a skein of silk and merino I picked up in Ireland

(clockwise from top left) A Tea Leaves cardi in SweetGeorgia, Paved boot toppers knit by Em Read in SweetGeorgia, Lumberjack socks in Madelinetosh DK, and a Thistle scarf in a skein I picked up in Ireland from Coolree yarns

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I think the Low Tide is the most recent thing I’ve knit for mum. I gave it to her last mothers day. I knit it up in Sweet Fiber Super Sweet Sock in Evergrey, one of my favorite colors. Is it grey? Is it blue? Is it green? Yes.

mum4

I knit this scarf ages ago, when I worked at Urban Yarns. The yarn is Handmaiden, the pattern is Moonlight Sonata, and the fringe is ‘knit it’ and then unraveled at the end. Mum loves fringe so she wears this one all the time.

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Mum with he Photosynthesis shawl in SweetGeorgia Cashsilk Lace in ‘ultraviolet’

There will be many more knits to come, starting with this mother’s day…if I finish that last sleeve tonight….and sew on the buttons…and block….I have work to do!

More knits perfect for mum:

Little Squirrel

April 30, 2015

MB-littlesquirrel-06sqThere is something so delightful about baby feet. They are so small, impossibly pudgy and they have adorable little teeny tiny toes. Okay, sorry, I almost devolved into baby talk for a second there!

Max & Bodhi’s Wardrobe wouldn’t be complete without some Little Squirrel socks.

 

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When Emily and I were plotting our first book, 9 Months of Knitting, we knew we wanted socks sized for the whole family, because the thought of a wee baby and a big man wearing THE SAME SOCKS was positively irresistible to us.  Thus the Lumberjack socks were created. It’s been a few years (and what seems like a lot of kids) but we still love this concept!  Grandpa and Grandson in matching socks?  Nana and toddler in matching socks?  Three siblings in matching socks?  Yes to all of it!  And so we created these socks for little squirrels and big squirrels alike.

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hazelknits(2)

Hazel Knits Cadence in ‘lichen’ and ‘white winged dove’

This time we wanted the toastiest toes we could get so we went with a textured, worsted weight sock. Little Squirrel socks are nice and thick, quick to knit, and perfect to keep both tiny and big toes warm around the house. The yarn we used is Hazel Knits Cadence and I am a big fan. It is super soft and lovely, and the color just glows, there is no other way to describe it! Wendee and co. have a great range of colors, all with depth and nuance. Each month they have a ‘color of the month‘ which I love!  You can check out April’s colorway now and there is a new colorway coming tomorrow!

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These socks are lovely, simple and cozy – perfect for big feet too!

 

If you are feeling daunted by socks, don’t be. We have a step by step tutorial that covers all the techniques!

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Max & Bodhi’s Wardrobe: 6 new knits all about the babes!

Little Squirrel is one of the 6 designs in Max & Bodhi’s Wardrobe, our newest collection that we are launching one design at a time.  Revel in the surprise and get special preorder pricing of $14 before the last pattern is released!

Max & Bodhi’s Pattern Launch Dates:

Want to knit along with us?  Join in the KAL on the Tin Can Knits Ravelry Group.  There’s support, camaraderie, and PRIZES…

If you don’t already get our email updates, now is the time to join!  We’ll tell you as new patterns launch, and share our tips and tricks for beautiful finished projects.

More for your feet from Tin Can Knits


 

Torrent Socks by Tin Can KnitsWinding Way Socks by TIn Can Knits

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