The Splendid Sampler

It’s no secret that I love a sampler quilt, in fact I think I may be a tiny bit addicted to little blocks that let me play with fabric in small chunks of time. If you also love projects that keep changing and surprise you with different techniques and fabric possibilities you may want to join The Splendid Sampler Sew Along.

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This brilliant year long project is the brain child of two very talented designers, Jane Davidson and Pat Sloan. They’ve collaborated with over 80 exciting designers to bring you one hundred 6″ patterns over the course of a year. Patterns will be released every three or four days, allowing for holidays.

There’s a bunch of other big names in this collaboration, a handful of Aussies I love like Cat Demack, Jen Kingwell and Siobhan Rogers. Some long time favourite international designers like Kerry Green, Latifah Saafir and Victoria Findlay Wolfe. Actually, choosing just three to mention was hard, you need to check out the whole list!

And then there’s me. Hahaha, I’m certainly feeling like I’m punching above my weight with this and I’m intending to sew along and learn new stuff from all the other designers. And I’ll have to put more effort into this blogging caper… but it’s more likely that you’ll find me over in The Splendid Sampler Facebook Group (Currently 8,000+ members) or posting my progress on Instagram. Check out #TheSplendidSampler hashtag to see what everyone else is doing.

It all kicks off this Valentines Day (14th February) perfect to demonstrate the huge love that Pat & Jane have poured into this adventure. So what are you waiting for? Sign up is free over HERE!

 

Sydney Quilt Show 2015

Wingdings: A Variety of Symbols by Lorena Uriarte. Inspired by the back side of Chuck Nohara's Symbol Quilt.

Wingdings: A Variety of Symbols by Lorena Uriarte. Inspired by the back side of Chuck Nohara’s Symbol Quilt.

Oops, it’s only when I saw my quilt in Quiltmania this week that I realised a massive oversight on my part. Seems I forgot to write about my most exciting quilty event of the year! The Quilters’ Guild of NSW’s annual Sydney Quilt Show, a member’s show with over 400 quilts in various categories and displays was on 17-21 June. It’s now months ago but it’s probably a good idea to document the event, especially since I won something and so did many of my friends.

There was a spectacular Red & White Challenge this year, over 140 Red & White quilts hung together in a brilliant display of ability and creativity. I had worked diligently to complete a quilt I’ve been wanting to make since 2012, a red & white version of Chuck Nohara’s Symbol Quilt. The original Symbol Quilt is double sided, with the red & white blocks on the back (see photo below).

My quilt really was an adventure, I’ve never made a two colour quilt before and I found it challenging. I was glad when it was finished and very grateful that Michele Turner was quilting it. I really needed a break from it. And it took months for me to pick a fabric for the binding. In the end I was really happy with how it looked and it won First Prize in the Machine quilted Category of the Red & White display. Hooray! Thank you to the sponsors Quiltsmith, Sew Easy, Tech2Home and Nestle for my amazing assortment of prizes.

Some photos of Windings: A Variety of Symbols. Not great ones. This may be why I haven’t written this post before!

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I also entered a second quilt in the Modern Category, Under the Sea a variation of my Opal Essence quilt pattern. There’s an embarrassing amount of teal and aqua in my stash. This quilt documents much of it!

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Like most of my quilts, they all end up in use or display around our home. Adding some colour to gloomy days or a warm wrap when it’s chilly!

Under the Sea & Rainbow Reverb quilts adding colour to a gloomy day...

More on the Sydney Show soon… in the meantime you can see all the prize winning quilts in The Quilters’ Guild of NSW Gallery.

 

 

my cheaty appliqué “thircles”

Yes, you read right. Thircles. You may already know that a squircle is the shape somewhere between a square and a circle but what’s a thircle?

If you’ve seen my Opal Essence quilt you’ll notice that all the circles are made up in thirds. The first quilt was made by appliquéing the third of a circle on to a diamond shape. A simple way to make sure you get a smooth circle is to use a template under your appliqué piece. The great thing about using this technique with a thircle (tee-hee, it still makes me giggle!) is that you can easily remove your template and reuse it.

My template of choice for this technique is a really smooth, bump free freezer paper template. You trace your pattern piece on to freezer paper and cut it out very carefully.

My cheaty applique thircle how to…

1. Press your freezer paper template to the wrong side of your fabric. As you will be folding the fabric over the template to appliqué try to place the curved edge on the diagonal grain. The stretch that lies here on the bias helps to create lovely soft curves with less bumps and folds.

2. If you are fussy cutting and placing the paper on the bias isn’t possible, consider using the fabric in a larger thircle. A larger, gentler curve is more forgiving with stiff fabric.

3. Next, use a ruler with a 1/4″ marking to add your seam allowance to the straight edges of your thircle shape. Cut with a rotary cutter or scissors. I love using an Add-A-Quarter ruler for this step. Using scissors cut a generous 1/4″ seam allowance around the curve.

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4. Use a fabric glue stick to keep the seam allowance tucked under. Use a fine line of glue, about 1/8″ away from the curved edge of the freezer paper. That will help when it comes to sewing the shapes down and will also reduce the chance of your fabric fraying along the raw edge.

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5. Match the seam allowance of your thircle with the corresponding point of your diamond background. Pin or lightly glue your shape into place. I like to pin along both seam allowances where there’s no freezer paper.

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6. Using a thread colour that disappears appliqué the piece down. Use small stitches and pull the thread a little to hide it.

7. Once the shape is appliquéd down, trim away your background with scissors leaving a generous 1/4″ seam.

8. Finally, whip out your freezer paper template to reuse. The less glue you use, the easier it is to remove and reuse the papers.

 

Now that your thircles are appliquéd down, you can piece your diamonds into a hexagon and fan your centre seam.

 

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I’ve been teaching workshops using this appliqué technique as well as the machine pieced thircles and most students are surprised by how much they enjoy the process. The smaller thircles are definitely less stressful if you appliqué them. The larger thircles can be rotary cut and machine pieced pretty quickly and painlessly. You can even mix both techniques in your quilt, maybe stick to one technique in each block though…

Hope that helps someone out there too afraid to try appliquéd curves. Let me know if you have any questions!

 

 

 

Modern Quilt Show Australia, Kiama

Long overdue blog post number 2 this week. As Miranda’s mum would say, “bear with”!

Topic: Modern Quilt Show Australia, hosted by Wollongong MQG in Kiama, 30th & 31st May.

modern qult show flyer

Okay, right off the bat… I couldn’t attend this show as I’d absentmindedly booked myself out to teach in Brisbane this weekend. Rookie mistake. I will be making this show a priority in my schedule in the future as I heard so many wonderful things about it by those who did attend. Great vibe, exciting quilts, engaging discussions about where modern quilting stands today in Australia.

So, my only means of participating were by submitting two quilts for inclusion in the show. I have to congratulate the hardworking selection panel who picked the quilts to hang in this show, only the second time this event has been held. It’s a lot of work and not all the decisions are easy. From what I could see on social media that weekend and follow up blog posts, the show was a great success. Yay!

When I put my two quilts forward for inclusion they weren’t (ahem) actually finished, but I didn’t expect to have two accepted so I hedged my bets. I guessed which one would be accepted and started quilting that one. Then I received a notification that both were in and I frantically got to finishing them off. To put this in perspective I’d been busy finishing two quilts for the Sydney Show and wrangling together a GWSMQG group quilt entry too. In short, the house got very messy, and I probably wasn’t super social!

squircles mosaic

I was really happy with my finished quilts, Squircles was started at Quiltcon back in February in Carolyn Friedlander’s Aerial Grove class. I really, really loved making this quilt. I loved the freedom of not using a template or marking pen for the applique technique, I loved finding a variety of prints that would let the gorgeous Lecien yarn dye in the centre shine and I loved piecing the whole thing together like a jigsaw puzzle without referring to a pattern.

The improvisational quilting was a steep learning curve as I’d never tried portioning up a quilt top before and using a different pattern of straight line stitching in each section. It did break the job up and it made it less boring, which seems to be my main issue with quilting. It was still hard to wrangle though, 78″ x 78″ is not a huge quilt but it was still rather hefty to push through a domestic sewing machine. When I had finished both entries I treated myself to some hand quilting watching Carolyn’s Handwork Is Fun Webinar on the MQG website (members only). What a treat!

floors mosaic

My second entry was a folly, a spur of the moment idea whilst scrolling through one of my favourite Instagram feeds “I Have This Thing With Floors”. I came upon an image of a tiled floor that I imagined I could make by simply using pre printed stripes. This was my fastest quilt top EVER, I’m working on a pattern for this quilt top so I’ll keep you informed…

I was thrilled to have both my quilts included in the Modern Quilt Show and so excited to hear that I Have This Thing With Floors got a Judges Commendation. Completely unexpected! Nothing for Squircles but it is now one of my favourite quilts! Here’s a list of all the winners.

squircles couch

I did have a hand in a few other winning quilts at the show: Our GWSMQG group quilt won 2nd place in the Group category, My daughter Sofia won 1st Place in the Youth category and another group quilt made with the fun gals I went to QuiltCon with earlier this year won 3rd place.

Thank you to all the organisers and sponsors of the Modern Quilt Show, it’s an exciting time to be a quilter and you are helping to get the word out there x

Phew, long post. One more to come this week. You have been warned…

Desert to Sea: 10 Quilts From Australian Designers

images from book

So many exciting things happening around here lately, I’ve fallen behind and so I’ll start with the release of my Opal Essence pattern in Jane Davidson’s fabulous book, Desert To Sea. The book was self published by my clever friend Jane and is available to order right now from Amazon and Book Depository. I know there are a few local fabric stores who are stocking it or taking pre orders too, in most cases this can be a slightly cheaper than paying for the book + overseas postage. Contact Quiltsmith, Material Obsession, Cotton Factory Patches Indooroopilly and QuiltJane for more information.

Desert To Sea Book: 10 Quilts from Australian Designers

Desert To Sea Book: 10 Quilts from Australian Designers

There are 9 other gorgeous quilts in the book by Jane Davidson, Danielle Auckens, Betty Kerr, Cathy Underhill, Charlotte Dumsney, Rachaeldaisy and Jeannette Bruce. The book has well written patterns, wonderful photography and even colouring pages to help you plan your quilt.

You may have seen some photos on Instagram taken whilst teaching this pattern, it’s proving to be a very enjoyable day class and students are learning lots. Take a look at the #opalessencequilt hashtag to be inspired! You’ll see photos of my two other versions of the quilt too #undertheseaquilt and #pinkchampagnequilt.

Opal Essence IG

I’ve had acrylic templates made to help speed up the cutting for this pattern and will be listing sets in my shop next week. The acrylic templates set includes 6 pieces to help cut the diamonds and arcs for machine piecing, I’ll also include a full size A3 template sheet and a packet of pre cut freezer paper shapes to give the applique technique I teach in my classes a try. That will be for another blog post!

Template sets are $35 plus postage. I’m also getting 20 copies of the book to sell together with my templates for those who can’t find them locally. The set will be $70 plus postage.

Please contact me if you’d like to pre-order a set as I expect delivery in the first week of July.

book and templates

UPCOMING EVENTS:

Social Tote Workshop at Material Obsession Saturday 27th June

Chuck Nohara Class at Material Obsession Friday 10th July

Chuck Nohara Class at Material Obsession Saturday 10th July

Lorena presenting at Friday Showcase at The Quilters’ Guild of NSW 7th August

Opal Essence Class at Quiltsmith 26th September

Opal Essence Class at Material Obsession Saturday 24th October

 

Opal Essence Workshops

It’s so exciting to finally have a pattern and some dates to teach my Opal Essence quilt! Writing instructions and coming up with something semi original is even harder than I had imagined. And very labour intensive. I’ve got some workshop dates booked and I will list them here once they are confirmed. The pattern will be published in a book of Australian quilters soon by Jane Davidson. The lead times for books are so long, but everything happens for a reason, there’s always another typo to correct.

Opal Essence was displayed at last year’s Sydney Quilt Show, since then it’s lead a fairly quiet existence on our sofa. It was in good company and much loved.

What a surprise to then see my quilt on TV as part of a news piece about the quilts hanging at the Australasian Quilt Convention in Melbourne this weekend. What a thrill and honour it was for it to be selected to hang in a curated display showcasing where Australian modern quilting stands today. This was done via the MQG and much work from the Melbourne MQG and Jules McMahon from Canberra MQG. Thanks from those of us who couldn’t be there to help. Kathy Thorncraft also from our GWSMQG has her striking Subdivison quilt hanging too. Lots of great modern quilts, yay!

Opal Essence sofa

A bit about the pattern, my original quilt here was needle turn appliqued and then machine pieced using a y-seam construction. But I have also made this quilt with machine pieced curves. There are acrylic template sets available to help with rotary cutting all the pieces.

Below is a machine pieced version of Opal Essence that I have called Pink Champagne, it is a baby size quilt (41′ x 48″) using just 18 blocks.

Pink Champagne close up

I’ve got many more ideas for my Opal Essence template, stay tuned for the possibilities.

Workshop Dates:

May 30 Patches, Indooroopilly

May 31 Patches, Indooroopilly

June 7  Wandoo Lane, Gold Coast

June 13  & 14 Cotton Factory, Ballarat

September 26 Quiltsmith, Annandale

October 10 Fairholme Quilters at Cottage Quiltworks, Warriewood

October 24  Material Obsession, Drummoyne

I’m also happy to travel to your quilting retreat or guild to teach a workshop.

Please contact me for fees and available dates.

Lorena :-)

Apple, Pecan and Bourbon Caramel Cake

Apple, Pecan and Bourbon Caramel Cake
Auth: 
Recipe type: Cake
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
 
It's healthy... it has fruit. and nuts!!
Ingredients
  • 150 grams butter, softened
  • ¾ cup caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups self raising flour
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 granny smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 1 cup pecans, chopped
  • 50 grams butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup Bourbon
Instructions
  1. Cream butter, caster sugar and vanilla essence with a stand mixer or electric beaters.
  2. Add in 3 eggs, self raising flour, salt and milk. Mix on medium speed for 2 minutes till smooth and light.
  3. Spread cake batter into a greased springform pan/ cake tin with removable bottom.
  4. Arrange sliced apples over the top and sprinkle with chopped pecans.
  5. Bake at 180C/ 350F for 40 minutes till cake is cooked through and golden.
  6. Meanwhile, make caramel by simmering 50 grams butter, ½ cup brown sugar and ⅓ cup Bourbon till thickened. If you don’t have bourbon use scotch with a little maple syrup and vanilla to flavour it. Or leave it out but call it something else! You know the alcohol cooks out so no need to worry about getting tipsy?
  7. Anyway, when cake has cooled for 10 minutes, pour over warm caramel and let it sit till completely cool before serving.
  8. Or serve cake warm, with ice cream and hot caramel. Yum!

Apple Pecan and Bourbon Caramel Cake blog pic

Emergency hex-it how to…

Well, there’s no point writing a QuiltCon post as you’ve probably read all about it and seen all the photos and besides the tragic and sad demise of my iPhone means I have no photos to share. C’est la vie. Move on Lorena…

So instead, I can finally focus on writing a tutorial to use my Emergency Hex-it kit that I gave to a few friends at QuiltCon. The kits included an acrylic template and seven 1″ hexagon papers, enough to make one hexagon flower. Maybe to keep in your handbag for crafty emergencies, just add fabric, needle and thread and voila – crisis averted!

It comes as a huge surprise that there are still some modern quilters out there who have never tried English paper piecing, oh hello Penny! Probably because I enjoy making samplers which aren’t always terribly modern, I learnt lots of different techniques to try to create all the different blocks.

Pairing up the technique of fussy cutting with English paper piecing can create a kaleidoscope of colour. Whilst it’s possible to machine piece fussy cut hexagons and other shapes, I like the portability of the paper pieced project. The acrylic template makes finding a motif and cutting the fabric super easy.

This tutorial will focus on making the hexie flower, I’ll follow this up with a tutorial to make the zipper pouch in case you can only sew one beautiful fussy cut hexie flower in your lifetime and want to share it with the world. Or you may become addicted and start a whole new quilt. For a grandchild. Mine is taking a while…

What will you need:

1″ Acrylic hexagon template with included 3/8″ seam allowance

7 1′ hexagon papers

fabric glue stick or needle and thread for tacking

strong, sharp needle

strong fine thread, a colour that blends into your fabric

cutting matt

small rotary cutter

a large piece of interesting fabric with at least 6 repeats of a motif (choosing fabric to fussy cut is an art itself, I should really write more about this)

Step 1

Spread out your fabric and slide the template around till you find a motif that you like and that you can see would repeat well. It doesn’t necessarily need to be completely symmetrical but that can help create the kaleidoscope effect. Check that you have six of the motifs on your piece of fabric before you start cutting!

Choosing a fussy cut motif

Step 2

Using a small rotary cutter, carefully cut around the template. Be careful not to shift the template and cut as accurately as possible.

You will use this first cut hexagon to position the template for the following 5 identical pieces.

Find your motif

Step 3

Position your template carefully over your hexagon and cut with your small rotary cutter.

Repeat till you have 6 identical hexagons.

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Step 4

Here comes the fun part, where you start to see your pattern emerge.

Take one of the fabric hexies, flip it over and place under the template.

Dab a tiny amount of glue in the middle. This will hold the paper template in place.

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Step 5

Centre the paper hexagon into the middle of the acrylic template.

Remove the acrylic template and repeat with the rest of your fabric hexies.

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Step 6

I prefer to use a glue stick to fold back my seam allowance.

You could also tack them down with needle and thread but I find I get better accuracy with the glue stick.

Use a thin line of glue at least 1/4″ from the edge of the paper. You don’t want to get glue where the needle and thread need to push through.

Fold over the seams one by one, creating neat folds in the corners.

Don’t pull the fabric too tight, you need a tiny gap at the edges to get your needle through later.

Don’t use too much glue! Those papers need to come out at the end.

Repeat with all six hexagons.

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Step 7

You’ll need an extra hexagon for the centre, that one needn’t be fussy cut so go ahead and pick a fabric that compliments your design. Then play around with your hexies to find a setting you like. It’s amazing how different they will look as you turn them.

I decided to go with the blue solid.

See that film that I’ve got under my hexie? I’m trying a tip from QuirkyGranolaGirl Melinda, it’s Press’n Seal and it keeps my pieces from disappearing in a gust of wind. High novelty factor as we don’t have this stuff in Australia! Probably a piece of batting will work just as well.

Anyway, time to stitch. I prefer to sew all the “petals” to the centre of the flower first but feel free to do what feels good for you.

Place your two prepared hexies together, make sure you’ve got the right edges together.

Use fine, strong thread and a strong, sharp needle to make little whipstitches over the edges of the templates. Don’t sew through the paper, there should be just enough fabric over the edges to slide your needle through. If not you may have glued your fabric too tightly or used too much glue.

Continue sewing the petals around your central hexie.

Always knot at the corners in case of thread breakage.

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Step 8

Continue sewing the hexies together by folding the flower in half and sewing the opposite seams till you’ve sewn all the seams.

You can see the folds here:

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Step 9

And voila! your beautiful fussy cut hexie flower is done.

See that wasn’t too hard at all. And don’t worry if it’s not perfect. The eye and brain work very well to forgive imperfection! And if not, take your glasses off or step back.

Next I’ll give you some tips on what you can do with one flower or maybe you want to make a whole quilt full of them?

Will you make one? I’d love to see it. If you share it on IG or Flickr please tag me or #emergencyhexit :-)

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Flat zippy pouch

I added a flat zipper pouch to my #quiltcon2015lanyardswap as I reckon they’re handy to pop in cards and supplies. I don’t make these often enough so I’m writing the process down for later reference. No use reinventing the wheel every time I want to take the car for a spin! (null)

Ingredients:

1 zipper ( for a 6″ pouch I use an 8″ zip)

2 3.5″ x 7″ rectangle of pieced or plain outer fabric

2 3.5″ x 7″ rectangles lining fabric

2 2.5″ squares of fabric for zipper tabs

1 2.5″ x 4″ piece of fabric for split ring loop

1 split ring

Method

1. Prepare zip: fold fabric tabs in half and stitch to cover the zipper ends so that zipper + tabs extend to 7″. Trim excess zipper with strong scissors. Be careful with the metal clip!

2. Layer one outer piece, right side facing up, place prepared zipper face down lining up the top edge. Pull the zipper tab all the way to the top.

3. Top with the lining piece right side down. Pin it together. It should look like a zipper sandwich!

4. Using a zipper foot, stitch along the zipper edge keeping a nice straight seam. When you are half way down, leave the needle down and lift the presser foot. Slide the zipper pull out of the way before finishing the seam. The closer to the zipper you stitch, the less zipper colour will pop through.

5. Repeat with the second side of the zipper, layering outer fabric facing up, prepared zipper facing down and lining fabric facing down. Pin and stitch as before.

6. Open out and press outer and lining fabric away from the zipper. Topstitch either side of the zipper to keep lining out of the zipper teeth. Next you will need to stitch the bottom of the outer and lining separately forming a loop either side of the zip.

7. So, bring the long edge of the outer fabrics together RST (right sides together) above the zip and stitch using a 1/4″ seam.

8. Repeat for the lining but bring them to meet below the zip and stitch leaving a 3″ gap in the middle.

9. Open the zip to the middle! (Or you will need to do some unpicking later) Next you will need to stitch the top and bottom sides closed, attaching the split ring loop to the top.

10. Bring the zipper to the middle, aligning the outer and lining fabrics with the centre of the zip.

11. Stitch across the top, taking care to stitch slowly through the bulky seam.

12. Take the 2.5″ x 4″ piece of fabric and fold in thirds in to a skinny long piece and then in half creating a loop. Press well.

13. Insert the loop into the remaining edge, the top. Raw edges should be sticking out. Line it up with the centre of the zip. Stitch across carefully as the seam is bulky. Trim any excess fabric from the loop. Now turn it all the right way:

14. Reach through the 3″ gap in the lining and pull all the fabric through, reach through the open zipper and continue to pull the outer fabric through.

15. Poke your fingers into the corners and smooth out the lining inside. Smooth the outer and press well.

16. Using a ladder stitch or a small machine straight stitch in matching thread, close the 3″ gap. Flat Zippy Pouch 2

Give it another press and voila! Your flat zipper pouch is ready to enjoy. Or gift! PS See that cute Dollar Bill Origami Shirt? You can make one too following these instructions. I haven’t made these in years. Not much fun now that our notes are all made of plastic!

Classes update

I’m so excited about the Chuck Nohara classes I’ll be teaching at Material Obsession this year.

There are twice monthly classes scheduled, the Saturday class is full but there are two spots still available in the Friday class which starts 13th Feb. Contact classes@materialobsession.com.au for further information.

The classes are loosely structured to accommodate the students’ needs. We will be working from Chuck Nohara’s book 2001 New Patchwork Patterns. This fabulous book is bulging with inspiration and ideas. Most block patterns are  2.25″ line drawings that leave the sizing and fabric selection up to the maker.

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It really is a great quilt to explore your style and colour sense. I’m really looking forward to seeing all the beautiful projects ahead.

Below is my interpretation of Block #74. I’ve used several techniques to make this block, applique, reverse applique and machine piecing. How would you have approached it?

 

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