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  • knitting1105 8:15 am on May 3, 2015 Permalink | Reply
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    Thistle 

    After sitting for many months on my spinning wheel, most of the winter in fact, these braids finally got finished. The color is Thistle from Fiber Optic.

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    When the plying was done, and I pulled the skeins off the skein winder, this is what they looked like:

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    Notice the green, which was the first spun, twisted the most upon plying.  Not to fear though, a nice hot bath, some snapping and hang in to dry produced a very beautiful yarn.

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    Total yardage: 1,070.  I thought that my spinning was very fine, but this seems to be my usual as of late.  At least the colors were a perfect match from braid to braid, and I had very little left over on 1 bobbin.  My thought is another faroese shawl, or perhaps something long and lean.

     
    • Diane 8:53 pm on May 3, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Can’t wait to see why you do with the yarn. Very pretty.

      Like

  • knitting1105 8:38 am on April 29, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    Shawls to Excess? 

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    Can one person own too many shawls?  Especially when they are handspun and hand knit with a beautiful Fiber Optic gradient.  I do believe I am testing this hypothesis firsthand.  My Reef Shawl is finished and off the blocking boards, fiber was spun using the Reef gradient that happened to be the first Fiber Optic gradient one that I purchased.

    I know that this post will generate lots of offers to take these shawls off my hands.  Not happening people, too much time involved.

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    I was reluctant to spin this for 2 reasons, at first I thought the colors to bright for me, and second, I didn’t want to ruin the fiber.  It seems I should have had no worries. The colors are gorgeous, and the fiber is wonderful.

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    I chose the pattern, Poppy Shawl from Brooke Nico’s new book Lovely Knitted Lace, as I wanted to maximize the use of the yarn, and I often find that triangular shawls do not sit well on my shoulders.  The unique shape of this shawl is intriguing, 3 triangles separated by a thin rectangle that sits on the shoulders.  Sort of a simplified Faroese styling.

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    The shawl rests naturally on the shoulders.  Love the Nupps in the long, thin rectangular panels.

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    Using this mannequin helps me to see what the shawl looks like on the backside while being worn.  I changed the bottom edging, the pattern called for simply finishing a repeat and binding off.  Preferring a more detailed bottom edge, and wanting to maximize the use of all my yarn, I improvised a variation of the pattern for the end of the shawl, and bound off with the stretchy bind-off.

    I will wear it today, although it will have to be as a shawl scarf, as it is rather cool outside.

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    Pattern: Poppy
    Pattern Source: Lovely Knitted Lace
    Yarn: Handspun gradient Reef from Fiber Optic
    Needles: US 5
    Date Started: 3/28/14
    Date Finished: 4/27/14
    Finished Dimensions: 48″ wide x 20″ deep from back neck

     
    • Diane 7:43 pm on April 29, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Frances, this turned out beautiful just as all of your shawls do. I think shawls and socks go in the same category — “too much is just barely enough”, Enjoy!

      Like

      • knitting1105 10:25 am on May 9, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        I thank Steve all the time for that outlook on life!

        Like

    • chikwithyarn 5:47 am on April 30, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      This is beautiful. Bi love the yarn. Each of your creations you make with it makes me want to buy some. I think I am just going to bite the bullet and order some.

      Like

      • knitting1105 10:24 am on May 9, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you so much! The colors of her fiber are so amazing that anything you knit with them looks great.

        Like

    • floofymoose 10:46 pm on June 1, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      These are amazing. I’ve got a couple braids of the Midnight gradient but am almost terrified to try spinning them because I’m not sure they will match up. Any tips? Thanks!

      Like

      • knitting1105 3:31 pm on June 4, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        As long as you are somewhat consistent in your spinning, you should have no worries. I find it easier to ply 2 braids together than split one evenly down the middle. Having a bit of the braid not match up is actually an advantage, as it gives some transition to the final braid. If you are plying and not happy with how they are matching up, you can break the one that is ahead in color and pull out some of the singles. I have only had to do that once. Kimber’s colors are so amazing, you need not worry. Warning however, they are also very addictive!

        Like

    • Erica 8:54 am on July 31, 2016 Permalink | Reply

      I’m having trouble understanding the pattern, I hope you can help!! After you do the first round of charts 3 and 4, there’s 131 sts. For the chart 3 section there are 27 sts, but when you start row 1 again the stitch numbers don’t add up. Did you do k4, to, k1, then repeat the red section twice, ssk, yo?

      Like

      • knitting1105 3:12 pm on October 2, 2016 Permalink | Reply

        I have been swamped and have not had the opportunity to respond properly. Did you look at my notes on Ravelry, that is the best that I can do, as it has been awhile since I made this. Sorry.

        Like

  • knitting1105 5:41 pm on April 23, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    3rd Fiber Weekend 

    First there was YarnCon, then Lorna’s Laces sale, and this past weekend was The Fiber Event at Greencastle, the kick-off to the county fiber fairs in the area.  Located just west of Indianapolis, it is an easy drive down and back in a day.

    2012 was my first trip to Greencastle, and I loved it.  Andi went with me, we had a great drive, talked, and shopped, and found GeeGee.  My impetus at that time was to find the Fiber Optic booth and see all of her wares firsthand for the first time.

    A torrential rain the night before we were to leave last year made getting out-of-town nearly impossible.  So, this year I was even more determined to go, and really wanted a knitting buddy.  My husband would have gladly loved the trip, but he does better when there is also a livestock display involved.  Lynette agreed to go with me, and we got a rental car early and drove off to get there in the morning for best selection.

    First on the list was to make a beeline to GeeGee and score some of her aprons while the selection was still good.  I could have left with many more… I chose this lovely apron, from the early 1950’s for me.

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    I really love the pocket that goes all the way through both sides.  I think it will be great to toodle around the house in and have things (think knitting) close at hand.

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    Here is Lynette purchasing from GeeGee, we made quite the dent in her booth.  I absolutely love her aprons, and she has such a great sense of color.  75 years old, and full of life and optimism, a great inspiration.

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    Then it was off to take a first pass at all of the vendors and see what caught our eye. There were a lot of Alpaca vendors this year, many more than I remember 2 years ago.  We saw someone from the Champaign-Urbana fiber guild demonstrating a Chakra, that was really interesting.

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    I knew that I would be returning to Fiber Optic, just what to buy this year? A gradient of course!  My 2 favorite colors together, green and purple.  This is a definite Frances shawl! Lynette is trying the paintbox gradients, it will be fun to see how they knit up.

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    I have always wanted to knit the Sheep heid tam, so found the pattern and knew that I needed to get that.

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    Then, it just so happens that we passed by a Shepherd who had many colors of Shetland sheep, perfect symbiosis.  I scored these 7 colors, couldn’t be better than handspun for this project!

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    And keeping with the Shetland theme, I purchased a beautiful book, that deserves its own post tomorrow.

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    • Helen 2:19 am on April 25, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I’m jealous, you look to have had too much fun! 🙂

      Like

    • Mimi 11:52 pm on May 6, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Looks like so much fun! One of these years…Interesting that you’ve wanted to do the tam because I want to do that blanket.

      Like

  • knitting1105 2:13 pm on March 28, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    Reef Shawl 

    Work has been steadily progressing on the Poppy Shawl by Brooke Nico.

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    If you decide to knit this pattern, look for the errata.  I found a mistake in the first row of Chart 3 and in the repeat width (it is 8 not the 9 std boxed out). When I emailed Brooke to ask if I was correct, she concurred and issued a correction on Ravelry.  It is a lot of knitting of the same pattern repeat, which is fairly straight forward albeit a bit boring at times.  I am very intrigued with the shape which is 3 triangles separated by 2 narrow rectangles (those are the sections with the nupps).  It should sit nicely on my shoulders and have lots of fabric to wrap.  One thing that I would like to change is the ending, rather than just casting off.  I have plenty of time to mull that over, still not finished with the first skein of yarn, my spinning was wound in 2 sections.

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    The colors are so gorgeous on this fiber, that I had to go back and see what the inspiration photo had been.

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    Which generated this colorway:

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  • knitting1105 1:31 pm on March 24, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    Because I love color! 

    This long, dreary, cold, icy, snowy, interminable winter is getting to me. My spring break last week was hardly that, and they are calling for snow this week! Color is a great comfort. So, I pulled out the yarn that I had spun this winter, Reef by Fiber Optic.

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    And I turned to my new book, Lovely Knitted Lace by Brooke Nico to choose a pattern.

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    While this is not the pattern that I really want to knit from the book, I like the look the yardage requirements were almost perfect.  Poppy Shawl.

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    Here is my start.  At least the sun was shining for photos.

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    • Diane Hamilton 8:39 pm on March 24, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Love the colors, it will look beautiful on you as you watch the sunset on Lake Michigan!

      Like

      • knitting1105 1:35 pm on March 28, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Oh, it is indeed a sunset shawl!

        Like

    • Linda 6:17 am on March 25, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Wow!! This is going to be beautiful! Can’t wait to see the finished garment.

      Like

      • knitting1105 9:25 am on April 1, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Thanks, maybe another week of knitting…

        Like

  • knitting1105 1:35 pm on February 21, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    Reef 

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    I finally have spun up the Reef Gradient from Fiber Optic.

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    This was the first of Kimber’s gradients that I purchased (I was already a fan, and had been in her club for 1 year).  This sat on the shelf, as I felt while the colors were beautiful, that it was too bright and just not ME.  Well, times have changed, and this long long winter has me looking for bright and sunny and anything that feels like warmth everywhere.  

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    I have also come to appreciated the bright colored shawls and how striking they actually are.

    My spinning was not as even as normal, so I had to pull it out a few times to bring the colors back into closer alignment.  I do like some overlap to transition, but a couple of times it was too much.  After plying it was washed and set on the bathroom radiator to dry.  990 yards of 2ply.

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    And then the photographs.  The colors were so beautiful and intense that I took tons of photos.  Enjoy the splash of brightness!

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    Now, I really want to knit this into a shawl quickly.  I have a couple of ideas…

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    • Diane Hamilton 9:58 pm on February 22, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Love the colors, anxious to see what you do with this yarn. I know whatever you do will be beautiful as always. It reminds me of a beautiful sunset on Lake Michigan!

      Like

    • Vonna 12:43 am on February 24, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      990yds you are awesome! I hope to do that amount one day.

      Like

    • CWLFibers 4:44 pm on February 26, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      How lovely.

      Like

  • knitting1105 6:28 pm on February 12, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    Honey to Fig 

    I cannot believe that I have not posted for 2 weeks!  Must be that all of my energy is going into shoveling snow and attempting to stay warm.  We are on the 3rd snowiest winter ever, and it is not yet halfway through February.  Everyone is hoping that we do not break the record books.

    During this hibernation phase, I have finished up my Semele shawl using the Honey to Fig gradient from Fiber Optic that I spun last Fall.  There were several false starts with various patterns, so the real knitting with the final pattern chose actually was only about 2 weeks.

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    Having a pattern that was knit from side to side for this gradient became an obsession with me, not quite sure why.  Three different patterns were tried before I settled on Semele, and I couldn’t be happier with the results.  This pattern allowed me to knit 1/2 of the shawl increasing and then start to decrease.  Either my calculations were incorrect, or the 2nd half of the braids were spun thinner.  In either case, I am still happy and I have some leftover deep purple for future use.

    Here is a photo blast for this yet again cold day. Colors were hard to capture, as it went from a golden-yellow to a very deep purple.

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    Pattern: Semele
    Pattern Source: Downloaded pattern
    Yarn: Handspun gradient Honey to Fig from Fiber Optic
    Needles: US 6
    Date Started: 1/9/14
    Date Finished: 2/8/14
    Finished Dimensions: 68″ wide x 37″ deep

     
    • Diane Hamilton 12:15 am on February 13, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      First I love the name–definitely one that you need to keep for yourself. I also love the colors and the edging, it turned out beautiful. As always, you did a great job!

      Like

    • chikwithyarn 7:23 am on February 13, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I love this yarn. I have just started spinning myself. How do you spin the fiber so the color stays together so you get an ombré look?

      Like

      • knitting1105 9:47 am on February 13, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you! If you spin your fiber evenly, regardless of the weight, the colors will match with Kimber’s fibers. If there is some overlap, I leave it to allow for more transition (which I prefer), if there is too much I break off a section (but usually not). Hope that answers your question. Her fibers are so beautiful, they always look great spun up.

        Like

    • janice bauerle 11:36 am on February 13, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Beautiful Frances!!! Love the colors and detail along the edge

      Like

  • knitting1105 8:13 pm on January 28, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    Knitting TM 

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    Knitting is the new yoga is a phrase often heard amongst knitters, and we like to point out that we accomplish things at the same time.  As a yoga student, it has the meditative properties, but my abs and triceps benefit little from my knitting, try as I might.  Today I was watching a talk show and they were taking about Transcendental Meditation and the associated health benefits.  I was working on my current shawl, at a point in the middle of each row, where it is mindless stockinette stitch, and thought this is TM also.  A quick google turned up this yoga retreat site that taught knitting as a meditative part of the retreat.

    Knitting relieves stress for me, and comes out in times of crisis to keep me centered.  It always is my solution for people going through difficult times in their lives, whether they be personal or physical.  Some heed my advise, most look at me as if I were crazy.

    This is my current shawl, Semele.  I have added extra increases to make it a true shawl, you all know my less than passionate feelings towards “shawlettes”.  Seems like any “ettes” are simply excuses for not having the completed full thing.  The other rational was to use all of the yarn that I have, this is a handspun gradient from Fiber Optic, Honey to Fig. There were many false starts to this shawl, as I was determined that this gradient wanted to go side to side.  This pattern was perfect, as you knit increasing until you have used almost 1/2 the yarn, then start decreasing.  I might have pushed the envelope a bit on this one, but I do have a back-up plan in my head if I run out of yarn at the end.

    Here is my progress, I am approaching the end quickly, having knit the majority of the body.  I was in a fog, took me quite awhile to get the hang of the pattern repeat. And the cast-on befuddled me, as the first leaf is backwards, I kept thinking that I had made a mistake.  It is advisable to read all the directions for a pattern first prior to starting to knit!

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    “Like the counting of the rosary, the motions of needlework are singularly well suited to the practice of contemplation”  –From The Knitting Sutra by Susan Gordon Lydon

     
    • CWLFibers 8:16 pm on January 28, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Oh how beautiful.

      Like

      • knitting1105 8:25 pm on January 28, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you! Better lighting and blocking will show it off more. I am anxious to get to the purple colors.

        Like

    • Carla 8:27 pm on January 28, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      I agree with you about shawlettes. If I want something to make it is going to have a purpose more than cute. Mine is to keep my shoulders and neck warm summer and winter. And they all look lovely than. What a pain sometimes to i figure out the increases, but so worth it in the end.

      Like

      • knitting1105 8:31 pm on January 28, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        My shawls become scarves in the winter, a quick pull over in a cold restaurant, and something light on a cool summer evening. Shawlettes just dont cover all that. The increases were easy to figure out with this pattern, I will elaborate on Ravelry and in my last post. Thanks!

        Like

    • beccasimplified 9:46 am on January 29, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Aww…I just posted about my love for shawlettes 😉 They aren’t so bad. I do love that gradient yarn though, and the effect you’re getting along the edge, it’s beautiful.

      Like

      • knitting1105 6:20 pm on February 12, 2014 Permalink | Reply

        Sorry, not meaning to offend, I just like a big shawl to wrap around me.

        Like

    • hoppinglark 11:34 am on January 29, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      What a great post and a beautiful shawl.

      Like

  • knitting1105 5:46 pm on January 27, 2014 Permalink | Reply  

    Spin the Bin 

    I just realized that I have not posted in almost 3 weeks.  I am not really sure where the time has gone, I have been spinning and knitting and trying to stay warm.  School closed today and tomorrow and most people working from home, although it is not as cold as it was 3 weeks ago.

    As part of a Ravelry Challenge, I chose 12 different fibers to spin over the course of the year.  When I saw the challenge, I knew that I wanted to participate, I just was having the dickens of a time choosing what I would like to work on for the next year.  This does not preclude adding things to the pile, it is just that if you take one item out, you must put 2 back in.  Good stash busting theory, let’s hope it works.

    Here is my selection:

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    1. Loop batt, washed ashore. 4 oz.
    2. Julie Spins, Amish, 6.1 oz.
    3. Fiber Optic, Raspberry to Cream Gradient, 4 oz.
    4. Fiber Optic, Dusty Plum to Olive Gradient, 8 oz.
    5. River’s Edge, The Monkey’s Uncle, color Maple Leaf, 4 oz.
    6. Gales’s Art, Red Red, 4 oz (CTA color)
    7. Fiber Optic, Once in a Lifetime color, merino, camel and silk, 4 oz.
    8. Western Sky Knits, Poppy, 8 oz.
    9. Fiber Optic, Reef Gradient, 8 oz. (CTA color)
    10. Gale’s Art, Brave, 4 oz. (CTA color)
    11. Shetland tricolor from farmer in Wisconsin, 8 oz.
    12. Cashmere from Illinois, to be washed, processed and spun, 10 oz

    The Reef Gradient was the first to make it off the list, this was my first gradient purchase and I felt not up to the challenge for quite a while.  The  bright colors are perfect for this house-bound weather.

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    The fiber seemed a bit compressed, so I ran it across the tea kettle and let the steam open it up.

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    Notice the difference!

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  • knitting1105 5:50 pm on January 6, 2014 Permalink | Reply
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    Arctic knitting 

    -15 F

    That is the air temperature this afternoon, not including the wind chill.  Me, and everyone that I know is staying home, hunkering down.  All my knitting and spinning friends are embracing the wonders of wool today, both in the wearing apparel and in the execution. Even our weekly Stitch-n-Bitch group has thrown down the knitted gauntlet and abandoned meeting tonight.  Just too cold to go out for a minute, let alone start-up the car. Our house however is staying nice and toasty.  The energy work that we have done over the past few years, in particular insulating the walls last year, is paying off well.

    Today I have been spinning on some Fiber Optic roving, Reef Gradient which was custom dyed a couple of years ago for Completely Twisted and Arbitrary Spin-Along on Ravelry, I was not ready to tackle a beautiful gradient at the time, and since then have successfully spun several.  This color way always just seemed too bright for me, then after wearing this shawl and getting compliments everywhere, I realized that I could pop the color intensity up a bit.  And, it has been a dreary cold winter thus far, this seemed like the best cheer me up spinning I could think of.

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    Work on it is going slowly, as I think that I am spinning my finest to date.  The color gradations make the slow spinning so much more interesting.

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    And on the knitting front, this Hanne Falkenberg sweater, Butterfly, has languished for 3-4 years, just missing its sleeves.  Progress is slow and I had to figure out where I was in the pattern, but I am back in the groove.  Will fill good to get another UFO out of the closet. I am a bit concerned about having enough yarn, so I think that I will switch over to the second sleeve and work on that so at least they match.  If I run out, it will be shorter Kimono style.

    Here are the Ravelry notes from when I first started it.  Funny, and thanks Ravelry for keeping me honest about length of time to knit.  People often ask me how long it takes to make something, and with this sweater I can truly say 5 years!!!

    6-23-09 Still knitting. Finished the back, and 1/2 way through the front. Slow go, but I am determined to be loyal to this project to the end. Although it is 90 today, and humid.

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    xxx

     
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