Archive for April, 2007

Clementine

Here’s my Clementine in Malabrigo, looking a bit odd on the needles (but I have great faith in the miracles I’ll be able to work with blocking).
The mysterious pointy object, in progress.
This pattern is a delight to knit—interesting, but simple enough that I can do it while enjoying a baseball game on TV or a book on tape. I’m particularly appreciating the feel it’s giving me for using increases and decreases to shape my finished work. I will never be one to design (let along wear) a knit swimsuit, but if you are so inclined, that teardrop-shaped bit at the end could teach you everything you need to know to make a nicely curved bra cup. (I’ll be waiting for the pics of everyone’s beachwear creations to come rolling in.)

With three balls of Malabrigo, I’ll easily have enough to make a good-sized shawl. I’m planning to use one ball for each half, then to continue knitting both at once from both ends of the third ball, so I get the most out of my yardage.

While walking on a windy beach yesterday, I got the idea to modify the Easy Triangular Shawl pattern into a poncho. I had a rectangualr shawl wrapped around my shoulders and pinned together, so the long ends were keeping my front warm, but I was really wishing for more fabric in the back when the shawl/poncho vision descended. I know the main wave of poncho fever has come and gone, but I haven’t knit one yet, so I will not be forestalled by the possibility of looking “so last year.” I’m guessing I’ll need ten balls of my beloved Soft Delight Extremes, and have put that on my shopping list for when I visit my sister at the end of June.

Last night I gave Sparky a little pompon-type ball that I’d had marinating in catnip for the past several months. You should have seen him go at it! He lunged at that pompon as if it were a particularly trecherous foe and spent a full half hour alternating between killing it and carrying it about in his jaw triumphantly. Spartacus: Mighty Slayer of Puffs!

P.S. On the evil spendthrift front (actually, it was only $11 with shipping from Rosie’s Yarn Cellar), I’ve ordered the Manos Cotton Collection 4 book. I’m in love with the back/white/grey 3/4 sleeve mosaic-stitch jacket. If you click on “View Image Gallery” here, it will be the first picture that pops up. It looks so classy and comfy all at the same time, and the washclothes have gotten me enthusiastic about the joys of mosaic stitches.

April 30 2007 | Cats | 1 Comment »

The Tamalpais Hats

Here are the four different versions of the Tamalpais Hat, named in honor of our local mountain.
All four Tamalpais Hats
Upper left: v. 1.0. Upper right: v. 3.0. Bottom right: v. 2.0. Bottom Left: v. 4.0. (I realize that the pattern is hard to see in 1.0, but look below for an additional shot of Melissa in the second hat I knit with this pattern.)

As you can see, they vary a bit in size and guage. Since I’m often knitting just to see “what if?,” rather than knitting for a particular person, I don’t worry too much about these when I start a project—just so long as the finished piece falls in a range so that it fits some sort of humanoid. Feel free to adjust yarn weights and needle size to achieve the results you want.

This hat has its genesis in a scarf I knit last fall for my mother that used a pattern from the Big Book of Knitting Stitch Patterns, which alternated 10-row bands of moss stitch with small, interlocking stockingette “teeth.” Version 1.0 remained true to the stitch as written, using one full pattern repeat and then enough moss stitch to build a hat around it. I cast on with a thick-and-thin rib intended to echo and emphasize the “teeth.” Here you see individual shots of the two hats I knit using this pattern:
Multi Tamalpais Hat.
V. 1.0 worked in Louisa Harding Kimono Angora. (I slipped a bit of paper towel inside the hat, so the eyelets show up as white dots if you look closely.)

The Tamalpais Hat looks good in green!
V. 1.1 worked in Rowanspun Aran.

V. 2.0 came about as a result of some making-the-best-of-an-unfortunate-circumstance knitting.
Two-tone brown Tamalpais Hat.
V. 2.0 in KnitPicks Wool of the Andes and KnitPicks Merino Style.

I’d started this hat in Wool of the Andes, but the single skein I had in my chosen color wasn’t quite enough to work up the whole hat. So I frogged it back to the last row before the decreases and changed to Merino Style as I began the decreases. I figured that the best way to make the change look deliberate would be to emphasize it, so I switched to stockingette as well.

By the time I’d finished these hats, I’d decided I wanted to make three changes: first, I wanted to make the “teeth” bigger, so they’d really seem like “mountains”; because I was planning this change, I also wanted to rework the thick-and-thin rib to match the new mountains; finally, I wanted to work the mountains in moss, rather than leaving them in stockingette. And while I was at it, I decided to try reducing the number of moss stich rows I worked before beginning the mountains. This led to v. 3.0
Green Tamalpais Hat.
V. 3.0 worked in Debbie Bliss Merino DK.

Now, this new version pleased me in some ways, but I didn’t like how the mountains looked moved down so close to the ribbing, and, while I liked the moss stitch on the mountains, I started to think the “sky” above the mountains was looking a bit too bumpy. I wanted more contrast between “earth” and “air.” So, I came up with v. 4.0, which moved the mountains back up and switched to stockingette for the top half of the hat. Because Melissa had requested a shorter hat that wouldn’t completely cover her ears and would work for warm-weather wear, I also changed the dimensions to make this hat more of a beanie.
Blue Tamalpais Hat.
V. 4.0 worked in KnitPicks Shine Sport.

This last version of the hat pleased me enough that I was finally able to move on to other projects.

And now for the patterns. In my next post, I’ll include some remarks on the various yarns I used working these up. I’ll also include photos of these hats being modeled by actual human beings when I get the chance.

Abbreviations that Apply to All Patterns
**: Stitch sequences between two asterisks should be repeated until a full round is completed.
K2tog: Knit two stitches together, resulting in a one-stitch decrease.
K3tog: Knit three stitches together, resulting in a two-stitch decrease.
P3tog: Purl three stitches together, resulting in a two-stitch decrease.
Sl 1 K-wise, K2tog, PSSO: Slip one stitch as if knitting. Knit the next two stitches together, then pass the slipped stitch to the left over this stitch, dropping it from the right hand needle, resulting in a two-stitch decrease.
SSK: One at a time, slip two stitches knit-wise onto the right-hand needle. Leaving these stitches on the right-hand needle, insert the left-hand needle into them as well from the opposite side, then knit the two stitches together through the back, resulting in a one-stitch decrease. If you prefer, you can simply K2tog through the back, which will look slightly different, but will work equally well.
YO: Yarn over needle to form a new stitch.

Tamalpais Hat V. 1.0 Pattern
Yarn: One ball of either Louisa Harding Kimono Angora (70% angora, 25% wool, 5% nylon, 124 yards per 25 gram ball) or Rowanspun Aran (100% wool, 219 yards per 100 gram ball) or equivalent.
Needles: 16″ circular U.S. size 7 and five U.S. size 7 double points.
Finished Measurements: Approx. 19″ diameter flat, stretches comfortably to 24″; approx. 9″ from edge to crown following the curve.

Cast on 88 stitches, place marker and close circle.
Work 7 rounds of *P2, K3, P2, K1* rib.

Work ten rounds of moss stitch as follows:
Odds: *K1, P1*
Evens: *P1, K1*

Work one full set of the six-round pattern stitch as follows:
Round 1: *YO, ssk, K3, K2tog, YO, K1*
Rounds 2, 4, and 6: K around
Round 3: *K1, YO, SSK, K1, K2tog, YO, K2*
Round 5: *K2, YO, Sl1 K-wise, K2tog, PSSO, YO, K3*

Continue working in moss stitch, beginning with a *P1, K1* round until the piece measures approx. 6″. End with a *K1, P1* round.

Work decreases as follows, swtiching to double points and starting with 22 stitches each on 4 needles:
Round 1: *(P1, K1) 9 times, P1, K3 tog* (20 stitches remain on each needle)
All even rounds: *K1, P1*
Round 3: *(P1, K1) 4 tims, P3tog, (K1, P1) 4 times, K1* (18 stitches per needle)
Round 5: *(P1, K1) 7 times, P1, K3tog* (16 stitches per needle)
Round 7: *(P1, K1) 3 times, P3tog, (K1, P1) 3 times, K1* (14 stitches per needle)
Round 9: *(P1, K1) 5 times, P1, K3tog* (12 stitches per needle)
Round 11: *(P1, K1) 2 times, P3tog, (K1, P1) 2 times, K1* (10 stitches per needle)
Round 13: *(P1, K1) 3 times, P1, K3tog* (8 stitches per needle)
Round 15: *P1, K1, P3tog, K1, P1, K1* (6 stitches per needle)
Round 17: *P1, K1, P1, K3tog* (4 stitches per needle)
Round 19: *P3tog, K1* (2 stitches per needle)

Cut working end of yarn to 6″ and run counter-clockwise through remaining stitches on needles using yarn needle. Pull tight and draw yarn end to inside of hat. Weave in ends.

Tamalpais Hat v. 2.0 Pattern
Yarn: One ball each KnitPicks Wool of the Andes and KnitPicks Merino Style or equivalents.
Needles: 16″ circular U.S. size 7 and five U.S. size 7 double points.
Size: Approx. 16″ diameter flat, stretches comfortably to 25″ as this is a very elastic rib; approx.9.5″ edge to crown following the curve.

Follow directions for V. 1.0 using wool of the Andes until you are ready to work decreases, then work as follows, changing to Merino Style. Switch to double points when necessary.
Round 1 and all odd rounds through round 17: K around
Round 2: *K9, K2tog*
Round 4: *K8, K2tog*
Round 6: *K7, K2tog*
Round 8: *K6, K2tog*
Round 10: *K5, K2tog*
Round 12: *K4, K2tog*
Round 14: *K3, K2 tog*
Round 16: *K2, K2tog*
Round 18: *K1, K2tog*
Round 19: *K2tog*

Cut working end of yarn to 6″ and run counter-clockwise through remaining stitches on needles using yarn needle. Pull tight and draw yarn end to inside of hat. Weave in ends.

Tamalpais Hat V. 3.0 Pattern
Yarn: One ball Debbie Bliss Merino DK (100% merino wool, 110 meters per 50 gram ball) or equivalent.
Needles: U.S. #6 16″ circular and set of five U.S. size 6 double points.
Size: Approx. 19″ diameter flat, stetches comfortably to 26″ as this is a very elastic rib; approx. 10″ edge to crown following the curve.

Cast on 112 stitches, place marker and close circle.
Work 7 rounds of *P2, K1, P2, K3, P2, K1, P2, K1* rib.

Work six rounds of moss stitch as follows:
Odds: *P1, K1*
Evens: *K1, P1*

Work one full set of the eleven-round pattern stitch as follows:
Round 1: *YO, SSK, (P1, K1) 4 times), P1, K2tog, YO, K1*
Round 2: *K3, (P1, K1) 4 times, K2, P1*
Round 3: *K1, YO, SSK, (K1, P1) 3 times, K1, K2tog, YO, K2*
Round 4: as round 2
Round 5: *P1, K1, YO, (P1, K1) 2 times, P1, K2tog, YO, K1, P1, K1*
Round 6: *K1, P1, K3, P1, K1, P1, K3, P1, K1, P1*
Round 7: *P1, K2, YO, SSK, K1, P1, K1, K2tog, YO, K2, P1, K1*
Round 8: as round 6
Round 9: *(P1, K1) 2 times, YO, SSK, P1, K2tog, YO, (K1, P1) 2 times, P1*
Round 10: *K1, P1) 2 times, K5, (P1, K1) 2 times, P1*
Round 11: *P1, K1, P1, K2, YO, Sl 1 K-wise, K2tog, PSSO, YO, K2, (P1, K1) 2 times*

Work in moss stitch beginning with a *K1, P1* round, until piece measures approx. 6″. End with a *K1, P1* row.

Work decreases as follows, switching to double points when necessary and evenly dividing stitches among four double pointed needles:
Round 1: *(P1, K1) 12 times, P1, K3tog*
Round 2 and all even rounds: *K1, P1*
Round 3: *(P1, K1) 5 times), P1, K3tog, (P1, K1) 6 times*
Round 5: *(P1, K1) 10 times, P1, K3tog*
Round 7: *(P1, K1) 4 times, P1, K3tog, (P1, K1) 5 times*
Round 9: *(P1, K1) 8 times, P1, K3tog*
Round 11: *(P1, K1) 3 times, P1, K3tog, (P1, K1) 4 times*
Round 13: *(P1, K1) 6 times, P1, K3tog*
Round 15: *(P1, K1) 2 times, P1, K3tog, (P1, K1) 3 times*
Round 17: *(P1, K1) 4 times, P1, K3tog*
Round 19: *P1, K1, P1, K3tog, (P1, K1) 2 times*
Round 21: *(P1, K1) 2 times, P1, K3tog*
Round 23: *P1, K3tog, P1, K1*
Round 25: *P1, K3tog*

Cut working end of yarn to 6″ and run counter-clockwise through remaining stitches on needles using yarn needle. Pull tight and draw yarn end to inside of hat. Weave in ends.

Tamalpais Hat V. 4.0 Pattern
Yarn: One ball KnitPicks Shine Sport (60% pima cotton, 40% modal, 110 yards per 50 gram ball) or equivalent.
Needles: U.S. #6 16″ circular and set of five U.S. size 6 double points.
Size: Approx. 19″ diameter flat, stretches comfortable to 24″; approx. 8.5″ edge to crown following the curve.

Cast on 112 stitches, place marker and close circle.
Work 7 rounds of *P2, K1, P2, K3, P2, K1, P2, K1* rib.

Work ten rounds of moss stitch as follows:
Odds: *P1, K1*
Evens: *K1, P1*

Work one full set of the eleven-round pattern stitch as follows:
Round 1: *YO, SSK, (P1, K1) 4 times), P1, K2tog, YO, K1*
Round 2: *K3, (P1, K1) 4 times, K3*
Round 3: *K1, YO, SSK, (K1, P1) 3 times, K1, K2tog, YO, K2*
Round 4: as round 2
Round 5: *K2, YO, SSK, (P1, K1) 2 times, P1, K2tog, YO, K3*
Round 6: *K5, P1, K1, P1, K6*
Round 7: *K3, YO, SSK, K1, P1, K1, K2tog, YO, K4*
Round 8: as round 6
Round 9: *K4, YO, SSK, P1, K2tog, YO, K5*
Round 10: K around
Round 11: *K5, YO, Sl 1 K-wise, K2tog, PSSO, YO, K6*

Knit one round, stopping when seven stitches remain before the marker on the left-hand needle. Place a new marker here, then work decreases as follows, dropping original marker when you reach it. Switch to double points when necessary, dividing stitches evenly among four needles.
Round 1: *K12, K2tog*
Round 2 and all even rounds through round 22: K around
Round 3: *K11, K2tog*
Round 5: *K10, K2tog*
Round 7: *K9, K2tog*
Round 9: *K8, K2tog*
Round 11: *K7, K2tog*
Round 13: *K6, K2tog*
Round 15: *K5, K2tog*
Round 17: *K4, K2tog*
Round 19: *K3, K2tog*
Round 21: *K2, K2tog*
Round 23: *K1, K2tog*
Round 24: *K2tog*

Cut working end of yarn to 6″ and run counter-clockwise through remaining stitches on needles using yarn needle. Pull tight and draw yarn end to inside of hat. Weave in ends.

Shout Out: Props to Mimi for helping me take these pics, then reducing them and emailing them to Melissa, and to Mimi and Dana for long-term loaning me their spare digital camera! Props, too, to Melissa, who does all uploading of pics to this site and povides innumerable support services.

April 28 2007 | Basic Wrist Warmers and Design Projects and Patterns and Tamalpais Hat, v. 1.0-4.0 | 14 Comments »

FOs!

Here are a few quick pics to whet your appetites.

Voila—the Easy Triangular Shawl knit up in my beloved Soft Delight Extremes from Hobby Lobby.
The finished shawl.
Yes, it’s acrylic, but it does amazing things on the needles. I’ll be buying more of it when I head to the midwest this summer to visit my sister. (Like a good knitter, I know to take my largest suitcase, even if I’m only going for a few days. You never know when you’ll run into a great yarn sale.) Obviously, I haven’t blocked the shawl yet and will need to do some tugging to even up the two sides, but isn’t the striping great? The chain-stitch cast off was tedious, but I like the bit of ruffle it adds to the hem. Once I find the right sale, I’m definitely going to be working this pattern up again in Noro. A thousand thanks to CatBookMom for bringing it to my attention.

And now Melissa in version 1.1 of the Tamalpais hat.
The Tamalpais Hat looks good in green!
(A self-portrait, in case you can’t tell.) The patterns for all the variations of this hat will be posted as soon as I can photograph them. This tweedy green hat is knit from the original pattern, which I’d first worked in a variegated yarn. It had come out nicely, but, not surprisingly, the color variation obscured the pattern, so I re-knit the hat in this fiber. In subsequent variations I played with using two yarn colors, mixing moss and stockingette stitches, making the “mountains” larger, and working the mountains in moss stitch. Because I’ve gotten some feedback that my Santa Cruz Hat is a smallish fit, I deliberately made this pattern larger. It produces a hat that’s roomier, without crossing over into beret-dom. Since I won’t see Melissa and her camera this weekend, I’m hoping to importune one of my local friends with a digital camera to help me get the rest of the pics done and uploaded.

The Malabrigo version of the Clementine Shawlette is on the needles and looking lovely, but it will also require significant blocking. I tend to knit garter stitch borders a bit tightly, so the interior pattern balloons out until I give the garter stitches a good stretch. Does anyone else have this problem?

April 27 2007 | Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Back in the Saddle (and generating links like crazy)

I’m thinking about doing the Clementine Shawlette from the spring issue of Interweave Knits. It’s a lovely thing, pretty, but not overly complicated. Here it is, knit up by the Local Needle. Here‘s another version from Whoopsy Daisy. And here a version from Ruthless Knitting. What I’m considering is is bumping up the yarn weight and needle size in hopes of generating a full-on shawl, rather than a shawlette. I have three balls of Malabrigo in a great fuschia/apple color combination (the colorway is Melilla, scroll down and you’ll find it). If I did this—particularly if I did it without swatching, which is of course what my itchy fingers are urging—I’d be risking producing something big enough for a giantess. (Or, perhaps, Janet Reno? Wait, no, that’s Will Ferrell…. Here she is! And here they are together.) But I’m still nursing my diasppointment that I cast off my Easy Triangle Shawl as soon as I did, so enormous seems like just the thing.

On another note, you may (or may not) remember that I’d started a felted knit tote version 2.0 quite a while ago. Because it’s 200 stitches around and all stockingette, it’s been languishing in the back seat of my car as the emergency-take-it-out-and-drag-it-along-to-meetings project. Well, yesterday during the weekly Committee on Educational Policy gathering, I got a vision of a way to alter the decreases that will, if I’m right, change the shape of the bag in a pleasing way, allow for a more attractive closure, and reduce some seaming I’d been dreading to a simple three-needle cast-off. Huzzah! I actually took the bag out of my car last night and worked on it while I watched Bill Moyers‘ latest on PBS.

April 26 2007 | Uncategorized | No Comments »

Back Among the Living

Hooray!

I’m still coughing, still blowing my over-productive nose every few minutes, but—I. Can. Think. I no longer burst into tears when asked to do something more complicated than choose between TheraFlu and Alka-Seltzer Plus Cold and Sinus. Last Wednesday, determined to teach my Thursday classes, I drove myself to the office, only to discover that getting there wore me out so badly that I was incapable of doing any class planning. A friend gave me a ride home, I called Melissa, and she took the rest of the week off work and set about healing me up (which included walking up to campus to retrieve my car, which I’d left there when I got the ride home).

I’m being dutiful and putting teaching first at the moment, so I won’t have a real knitting post for a few more days, but I promise something good as soon as I’m capable of it. I didn’t knit for the better part of a week, but once my brain started to reemerge from the fog, I went back to the Tamalpais hat, which I’ve now worked up in five different variations (a perfect example of what happends when one starts asking “what if?” questions). More on that and other projects soon.

April 23 2007 | Uncategorized | No Comments »

Sick Puppy

Sarah-Hope is one, that is; perhaps this is why she much prefers cats??
This is Melissa typing a quick post to let you know she’s alive, if not well, and is resting at home with cats on her lap, piles of quilts, and lots of hot tea and soup. She is slowly but surely winning the fight against mucous.
Snot funny!
(Please note this is not an actual photo of Sarah-Hope’s hand! We do have tissues….)

April 19 2007 | Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Cotton Rainbow

I’m a bit addled with a head cold, but have been knitting nonetheless. I finished the shawl and will post a picture tomorrow, once Melissa and I get new batteries for the digital camera. I polled the women at my LYS about whether it was big enough, and they assured me it was, so I bound off, but I actually wish I’d worked a few more pattern rounds. It’s nice for puttting over my shoulders while I sit in bed knitting or reading, but doesn’t wrap around me as generously as I’d like for going outside. I’m thinking I’ll get more of this yarn when I go visit my sister in June and knit a second one. It’s a simple pattern and works up fairly quickly. Thanks Catbookmom for recommending it!

I’m also at work on a new hat pattern that I’m very pleased with. I’m knitting it up in three different yarns and will post the pattern once the prototypes are done and photographed. It has a horizontal band of triangular motifs, so I named it “Tamalpais” after the local mountain.

Meanwhile, here are the washcloths I knit up in the various colors of Peaches & Creme I ordered.
Five lovely and colorful washcloths.
Starting at the top and going around clockwise the colors are Sea Mist (201), Pink Lemonaide (171), Sunrise (137), Mexicali (185), and Daisy Ombre (165). These colors have something so clean and fresh about them—I feel as if they could open my sinuses back up if I just looked at them long enough.

Melissa and I had planned to go hear SF Symphony play Symphony of Psalms by Stravinsky tonight, but are staying home because of my cold. We donated the tickets back to the Symphony, in hopes that they could profit further from them. (Clink on the link on this page in the “Program” section to hear an excerpt from an earlier performance of this work by SFS. It’s a magnificent piece that I’ve been enthusiastic about since I first heard a recording of it back in high school. Those were my classical ballet days, and I always imagined I’d choreograph it someday.) Melissa will keep plugging away at her taxes, and I’ll drift from knitting to staring vaguely at the walls during my conscious moments.

April 13 2007 | Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

First Pair o’ Socks

Two! Count ‘em—two!
My first pair of socks! Finished!
I am so chuffed.

April 11 2007 | Uncategorized | 3 Comments »

Melissa’s Bloofer Hike (Semi-Guest Blog)

[Here are a few pix from Melissa's latest hike. She sent them to me via the draft feature of my blog program, and I thought I would share them with you. (Bloofer, for those of you who don't know, is a dialect form of beautiful used in Bram Stoker's Dracula—we do get literary in sometimes silly ways. On-line text available here. Who knew?)]

Featuring things that begin with “B”
I am indulging myself. You do not need to post this….

In order:
Bunny
A not-very-shy little bunny on the side of the trail.

Bloofer rolling hills:
Picturesque rolling hills.

Blue Butterfly:
A butterfly indulges me by sitting still for a few minutes.

Bay View:
Looking out over San Francisco Bay.

April 11 2007 | Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Hamster Wheel

Yep, that’s what life feels like at the start of spring quarter—I’m running and running and out of breath and not always tactful and composing to-do lists in my head and still mucking about with work chores too far into the evening when I should just be listening to the ballgame and knitting, yet I never seem to really make any forward progress. (Heck, I’m lucky I’m not making backwards progress.)

I teach required first-year writing, of which we never have enough sections, so at the start of the quarter I’m besieged by importuning students who can all elaborately explain why I should admit them to my already-full classes. (And the official maximum class size has increased by 25% in the time I’ve taught at UCSC, so “full” has been growing steadily more exhausting over the years.) They think of themselves as “just one more” and don’t see what the problem is. I see them as an extra 50 pages of careful paper-reading on my weekends and as one more source sucking all the oxygen out of our CO2-heavy classroom air supply and say “no.” Some of them go away peacefully. Others throw tantrums, either via email or just outside the classroom door. This quarter, key terms directed my way have included f*ck, b*tch, and lame. So I find myself taking many a deep breath and trying to focus on the students who are in my class and who I need to regard with respect and a certain fondness, if we’re to work together productively—but this is not always easy to do when I’m being interrupted regularly by folks who think of themselves as special cases and who treat me like the hired help.

Enrollment will settle soon—and the students I do have in my classes have approached the work willingly and thoughtfully so far.

Anway, at the moment I’m chugging along on my shawl (12.5 pattern reps done; I’m estimating another 5.5 to go) and waiting for more sock yarn, but I’m not cooking up any original patterns or being particularly “creative.” This is one of those times when I need my knitting to be a comfort, not a challenge.

Thank you for bearing with me. I’m off to knit now.

April 10 2007 | Uncategorized | 2 Comments »

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