Archive of ‘Software Techniques’ category

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Many embroiderers are stitching last minute gifts and that can mean trying to tame long fibers like faux fur and lofty knits. You need to ‘set the stage’ for the beautiful stitches and give them a foundation to sit on. Inspiration’s Perfect Embroidery Pro’s Nap Blocker feature is the answer for providing a base for the beautiful stitches while taming the fibers. Nap Blocker adds a layer of complex fill stitches that’s just light enough to flatten the lofty fibers creating a smooth surface for the embroidery. Here’s how to do it in PEP.

Select the Text tool and type JOY in the Properties Box.  I used the Bookman font. 

Select the design, right click to access the command menu.  Select Utility, Nap Blocker.

Instantly, a layer of complex fill is added to the design in the first color position.

The fill extends .15” beyond the design to ensure any long fibers will not obstruct the embroidery.  You can change this by selecting the fill only and resizing.

Notice how the complex fill is placed at the beginning of the design in the color sequence. 

Stitch the complex fill in the same color thread as the fabric. This is key because you want these stitches to disappear behind the beautiful embroidery.  And…you don’t have to use a topper when you use Nap Blocker. How sweet is that?

If you’re working with intricate text, you might want to adjust the shape of the nap blocker.  the image below shows the default nap blocker for a paragraph of text.  Remember, nap blocker has a default setting of .15″ so if it sees a space wider than that, it will leave it open.

It’s easy to adjust this.  Click on the shape tool, select the nap blocker (color 1).  All of the points will be visible. 

Drag the cursor over the points you want to remove.Hit delete on the keyboard. Poof!  They’re gone and the space is not filled!

Much better presentation!

Flamingo Navidad

Flocking around the flamingo tree on this happy holiday!

The Volume 113 Nov/Dec issue features instructions for making the Beaded Flamingo card.  The instructions on the blog will cover how to make the Feather & Sequined Flamingo and the Felt Wing Flamingo.

All cards use the Fabulous Flamingo collection.  Perfect Embroidery Pro was used for making modifications to the design.


Feather & Sequined Flamingo

The embroidery design technique is the same as the Beaded Flamingo.  If you missed the steps in the magazine, follow along here.  Otherwise, scroll down to the Embellishing section within this blog.

Overview:  The goal is to replace the fill stitches for the main part of the flamingo body with an outline stitch.  The original design does not have an outline but we will create one in Perfect Embroidery Pro.

At the Computer
Open Birds of a Feather-17 in Perfect Embroidery Pro.

Delete the text:  “Birds of a feather flock together”.

Select the second thread color in the sequence, Bashful Pink.  This is the main part of the flamingo body.

With the second thread color still selected, right click.  Select Utility.  Create Outline.

A new window appears.

Change the default from .08 to .00.  Click Apply.  There’s now an artwork outline around the flamingo body.  Note, this is artwork, not stitches.  I changed the color to a dark purple so you can see the outline a little better in the screenshot.

Delete the original color 2.  Then rearrange the color sequence so the outline of the flamingo body is now the second thread color in the sequence.

Change the Color to Bashful Pink.

With the artwork selected, right click.  Select Convert To / Run.  Click Apply.

In the Properties box, select Bean and click Apply.

Save the design in the appropriate machine format and send to the embroidery machine.

Hoop a piece of felt in a 5” x 7” hoop.  Stitch the design.  Trim the flamingo leaving 1/8” of felt all around the flamingo.

Embellishing

For this flamingo, I opted for the Pink Glitter Glue.  Based on my earlier testing, the glue does secure sequins.  But it does take longer for the glue to dry.  No problem!

I applied the glitter glue to the entire flamingo.  The photo shows a conservative amount but I did add more.  I wasn’t concerned about applying glue to the entire flamingo at once.  The glue takes awhile to dry.

Apply the sequins, one by one.  The packaging I purchased included three different sizes of sequins.  I used all three sizes for variety.  While it might strike you as tedious to attach each sequin, not everything is created in an instant.  Some things do take time.

Once I filled the flamingo with sequins, I did a spot check to see if there were any open spaces.  I added more sequins.  I even layered them because you really can’t have too many sequins.

Next, I decided a feather would be the perfect finishing touch but when I auditioned it, I discovered the pink was not the right shade.

Fabric spray paint is the solution!  This is the tricky part.  Don’t get overly excited when spraying the feather.  You will drench it and make a mess.

Instead, be judicious.  Gently apply the spray paint to the feather.  Take your time.  The flamingo that wins the race is not always the fastest. I sprayed two feathers to give me options.

Let the feathers dry.  Then attach the most appropriate feather using FabricTac glue or for faster results, attach with a hot glue gun.

Use some rhinestones to create a necklace (and hide the area where you attached the feather.

Finishing the Card

Select a fun card stock to create your card.  The words “Flamingo Navidad” were created in Adobe Photoshop Elements with font, AR BONNIE.  The font is also found in Microsoft Word.  Use your favorite font style and program to create your own text.  Place additional embellishments as desired.

Use a hot glue gun to secure the flamingo embroidery to the card.

 

Fabulous Flamingo cards are sure to make everyone smile!  Give them to family, friends and coworkers.  Make a stack and deliver them to shut-ins and nursing home residents.  You’ll have as much fun making them as you’ll have seeing everyone’s reactions when they receive them.

Purchase the design collection here.

Crazy Quilting

My Quilt Embellisher features 50 crazy quilt stitches that can be combined, sized, rotated and morphed to create hundreds of gorgeous stitches. My Quilt Embellisher is the software I used to create the projects in Today’s Crazy Quilting with Your Embroidery Machine. To embellish a block with crazy quilt stitches, take a photograph of the block and load it into the software as a Backdrop. Define the horizon and the scale. You’ll find those tools on the left toolbar, just click on the arrow under the Backdrop icon.

Select the Crazy Quilting icon.

Select a stitch from the drop down menu. Select stitch #10.

Once selected, you’ll notice the cursor changes to a small crosshair. Left mouse click and drag the mouse to create the motif. The longer you drag, the larger the motif. Each motif can be dropped individually creating an organic, hand-stitched look. The line of crazy quilt stitches  shown below is five repeats – all slightly different sizes. If your individual units are not aligned, select all and click on Horizontal Center Align to align the units. 

If a design is skewed, just select the individual design and drag the corner handle to rotate it.

Crazy quilting stitches are such a fun, decorative technique for adding embellishments to quilt blocks, small wall hangings, purses and more. One of my favorite projects from the book is this charming storage box.

If you like crazy quilting, you might enjoy my book, Today’s Crazy Quilting with Your Embroidery Machine.  The book includes instructions for creating your own crazy quilt blocks using My Quilt Embellisher software. Follow the steps in the book and watch the video on the CD to learn everything you need to know.  You can learn more about the book here.

 

 

Projection!

One of my favorite features in Inspirations’ Perfect Embroidery Pro is Projection.  Projection is a setting in the Properties Box under Stitch Type.  Let me show you how Projection can transform a simple heart.

Select the artwork tool, and click on the heart.

Drag the cursor to create a heart (about 1.5” x 1.5”). Copy, paste and reposition each heart to make a flower.

Select the flower and in the Properties Box under Stitch Type, select Projection. Click Apply.

Now that simple heart is transformed into a detailed flower. 

To turn it into an applique, select the flower, right click to access the Utility menu.  Select Create Outline from the drop down menu.  Change the distance of the outline to 0.0.

Select the outline, right click, Convert to Applique.

All you have to do now is change the order of the colors.

First, make the applique a separate color. 

Then select the applique, right click and select Break Up Path.

Right click on the two runs (in color 2), select order and move to back. Change the color of the second run (this will be the tackdown). The first color is the placement guide.

The projection stitches should sew before the applique.  So easy and so much fun!

Float Your Quilt Block, Part 2


Update/Correction:  The video the batting is cut to the same size as the front and back fabric – the batting should be smaller and fit within the hole in the block maker, only the front and back fabric should get stuck to the tape!  


Last Saturday’s blog showcased how to use the Monster Block Maker with one of the included embroidery designs.  This post is an expansion to last Saturday’s blog. This time, we will create a quilt block using software.

This exercise uses Perfect Embroidery Pro with My Quilt Embellisher to create the quilt block.


  1. Launch Perfect Embroidery Pro.
  2. Using the art tools, create a 4.8” square.

  1. Right click on the square. Click Convert To / Run.

  1. Change the stitch length to 4.8 mm. Click Apply.
  2. Click on the arrow underneath the My Quilt Embellisher Icon on the right side of screen. Select Embellishments.
  3. A new window will appear. Click on Butterfly.  Click the second image, Embellishments 10_Circle.
  4. Your block will look similar to the image below.
  5. Select the first outline.
  6. Right click. Select Utility.  Create Outline.

  1. Leave the default .08. Click Ok.
  2. The image will look similar to the one shown.
  3. Select the new outline. Right click.  Select Utility.  Create Outline.  Keep the default .08.
  4. The design should look similar to the one shown.
  5. Select both artwork outlines. Right click.  Select Convert To / Run.
  6. Select the second element in the design as shown. This is artwork.  Right click.  Select Convert To / Run.
  7. Rearrange the thread sequence so that the butterfly section stitches second, followed by the outline stitches.
  8. I like using different colors, so I selected different thread colors for each of my outlines. Change the thread colors as you wish.

 

Follow the directions included with the Monster Block Maker to prepare the template with double sided adhesive tape.  Watch the short video clip to see the steps where I made the quilt sandwich.  The double sided adhesive tape lasts for multiple blocks.  (hence my tape looks a wee bit messy, but it does keep the fabric secure).  Once the tape loses its stickiness just change the tape.

The next video shows the the outline being stitched.  This step secures the quilt sandwich.

Here’s the finished block.

Remove the block from the Monster Block Maker template.

Here’s a look at the finished trimmed block.

 


Additional Resources:

An Introduction to Floating Your Quilt Block

Single Needle Machines

Mult-Needle Machine 

 

 

 

Blue is the Winner!

Earlier this week, I tallied your votes on your favorite of three pillows. Here’s the rundown:

40 picked blue

22 selected pink

4 went for green

I agree, I think blue pillow is splendid.  I love the designs and the color.  Here’s how I made the layout in Inspiration’s Vintage Embroidery software.

Open a new file and click on the Vintage design icon (circled in purple above). Select the Abstract folder and the Abs_0024_Icon_ design.  Click Ok.  Copy, paste and mirror the design.

Select both designs, copy, paste and mirror vertically.Now, tweak the position of the designs to even the spacing.

Select the Vintage designs icon again to add the center design, ABS_0011_Icon_D.

Change the color to blue and move it to the center of the four designs. Select all four designs, right click and select Group from the drop down menu.

On the keyboard, select all (CTRL A), right click and select Align, Center.  

That’s it!  Now the real fun begins: the embroidery and the hunt for the perfect trim!

What’s Your Favorite?

Just a quick blog post today since I’m buried in new projects.  I’ve been working in Inspirations’ Vintage Embroidery Software and designed three different groupings.  One is supposed to be a pillow but I’m having trouble deciding which one.  I need your help but first, a little background on these on-trend stitches.

Vintage Embroidery software has hundreds of built-in designs that have been digitized to give an old world charm to your embroidery.  The designs require a mixture of 15 wt. polyester and 40 wt. polyester thread. This unique combo gives a high-end retail look to your stitches.  They’re so much fun to stitch because the designs are all low-stitch count designs in a minimum of colors so they stitch quick.  With my busy schedule, I’m always looking for fast and easy with big results.  Vintage fits that bill.

Before I proceed any further on this project, I thought I’d ask you – my fellow expert embroiderers – what’s your favorite grouping?  Do you like the pink Vintage design Abs_0213_Ornamental_D?

 

The green Vintage design Abs_0259_Icon_D?

 

Or the blue Vintage design Abs_0024_Icon_D.?

 

Sometimes, I fall in love with all the samples and then, well, pillows become quilts. So help me stay on track and select one.  Your vote counts!

My Block Piecer Block of the Month: Block 9 – Around the Block Software Instructions

My Block Piecer
Block of the Month : Block 9 Around the Block
Software Instructions
By Nancy Stansbury

This ongoing Block of the Month series was designed to inspire you to learn new techniques using My Block Piecer.  As a reminder, the first Saturday of every month will feature the software lesson using My Block Piecer.  The following Wednesday will feature the sewing lesson.

  • You are free to adapt the block to a size of your preference.
  • A free trial of My Block Piecer is available if you’d like to try it before you buy it.  Note the “Save” feature is deactivated until the software is purchased.
  • Interested in learning more about My Block Piecer and other Inspirations Software?  Join us at an Inspirations Event.  Click the Events link for events near you.
  • If you’re late to the Block of the Month “party” have no fear!  Start with Block 9.

Let’s continue the journey of learning and creativity!


  1. Open MBP.
  2. Click on Create a New Design.
  3. If the units for the ruler on the design page show mm, Right Click on either one of the rulers on the Design Page, and Click on Inches.
  4. Right Click on either ruler again and click on Grid Settings.
    1. Check marks by:
      1. Maintain aspect ratio.
      2. Snap to grid.
    2. Set Horizontal spacing to 0.25.
    3. Click OK.
  5. Click on the Block Icon.

    1. Enter Around the Block #2 in the Find box at the bottom of the window (DO NOT CLICK THE ENTER KEY).
    2. Click on the Down green arrow.
    3. Click OK to place the block on the design page.
  6. In the Properties Window on the right side of the screen click on the Transform icon.
    1. Have Maintain aspect ratio checked.
    2. Change the Width to 6.
    3. Click Apply.
  7. Click on the Reorder icon.
    1. Click on each patch as numbered below. Do not need to number the lower row as it is identical to the first row and just rotated 180 degrees.
    2. Right Click to end the numbering. The numbers will disappear but the numbering is still there.
  8. Click on the Select icon and draw a box around the top row (patches 1 through 7).
  9. Click on the Workflow icon.

    1. Select a 200mm x 200 mm hoop or similar for your machine.
    2. Click the Auto Build button. The patches are in more than one unit, so the embroidery needs to be manually created.
    3. Right Click in the window on the right side (with the numbers) and Click Reset.
    4. Holding down the CTRL Key, Click on the 1 and 2.

      1. Right Click and Group.
      2. Holding down the CTRL Key, Click on unit and 3.
      3. Right click and group.
      4. Repeat ii and iii for patches 4 – 6.
      5. DO NOT CLICK AND GROUP THE LAST NUMBER.
  10. Click Preview.
  11. Click Save.
    1. Click on Create a New Folder icon and name it Block 10.
    2. Double Click on the folder to open it.
    3. In the File name box enter Around_The_BlockA.
    4. Save as type select Inspiration Series (C2S).
    5. Click Save.
    6. A window will open showing you the files that have been created.
      1. Around_The_BlockA_001.c2s.
      2. Around_The_BlockA _artwork.c2s.
      3. Around_The_BlockA _preview.pdf.
    7. Close the file window.
    8. Close the Save window.
  12. Click on the Select icon and draw a box the patches 8-13.
  13. Click on the Workflow icon.

    1. The numbers have been changed to 1-6.
    2. Click the Auto Build button. If there is only one unit go to Step 14.
    3. Right Click in the window on the right side (with the numbers) and Click Reset.
    4. Holding down the CTRL Key, Click on the 1 and 2.
      1. Right Click and Group.
      2. Holding down the CTRL Key, Click on unit and 3.
      3. Right click and group.
      4. Repeat ii and iii for patch 4 and 5.
      5. DO NOT CLICK AND GROUP THE LAST NUMBER.
      6. Go to Step 15.
  14. Click Sort Numbers.
    1. Click Yes to update piece numbers.
  15. Click Preview.
  16. Click Save.
    1. In the File name box enter Around_The_BlockB.
    2. Save as type select Inspiration Series (C2S).
    3. Click Save.
    4. A window will open showing you the files that have been created.
      1. Around_The_BlockB_001.c2s.
      2. Around_The_BlockB _artwork.c2s.
      3. Around_The_BlockB _preview.pdf.
    5. Close the file window.
    6. Close the Save window.
  17. Click on the Select icon and draw a box the patches 14-18.
  18. Click on the Workflow icon.

    1. The numbers have been changed to 1-5.
    2. Click the Auto Build button.
    3. Click Sort numbers.
    4. Click Yes to update piece numbers.
  19. Click Preview.
  20. Click Save.
    1. In the File name box enter Around_The_BlockC.
    2. Save as type select Inspiration Series (C2S).
    3. Click Save.
    4. A window will open showing you the files that have been created.
      1. Around_The_BlockC_001.c2s.
      2. Around_The_BlockC _artwork.c2s.
      3. Around_The_BlockC _preview.pdf.
    5. Close the file window.
    6. Close the Save window.
  21. Click the Select icon and draw a box around the entire block.
  22. Click the Cutter icon.

    1. Seam allowance default is .25”. Normally I change this to 0.4” or 0.5”, to make it easier to place the fabric pieces no matter which output format I choose.
    2. How you are going create the fabric pieces for the block, will determine which file format (hoop) to choose for the templates.
      1. If going to print the templates, and use them to manually cut the fabric pieces, select the Paper Letter 210×279.
      2. If going to use the Scan and Cut, select Brother SCN 12x12”.
    3. If going to use the Silhouette, select Silhouette 12x12”.Can Unclick Optimize Orientation if using a directional fabric (This will optimize how the pieces file on the paper.)
    4. Click Apply.
    5. Click Save.
      1. In File name enter Around_The_Block Templates.
      2. Click Save and select the proper format for your cutting device.
      3. The Following Files have been created.
        1. Around_The_Block templates.
        2. Around_The_Block templates_preview.pdf.
      4. Close the files window.
      5. Close the Cutter window.
  23. Click on Create a New Design.Note: When using the Merge to open a file, SAVE is actually a SAVE AS and the original file is not overwritten.
  24. Click on the Hoop icon and choose a 200mmx200mm or similar hoop for your machine.
  25. Click File, Merge.
    1. Locate the file. Around_The_BlockA_001.c2s.
    2. Move to top of hoop.
    3. Click Copy, Paste.
    4. In the Properties window.
      1. Click on Transform tab and rotate 180 degrees.
      2. Click Apply.
    5. Move to the bottom of the hoop.
    6. Click File, Merge.
    7. Locate the file Around_The_BlockB_001.c2s.
    8. Move to middle and left side of the hoop.
    9. Click File, Merge.
    10. Locate the file Around_The_BlockC_001.c2s.
    11. Place on the right in the middle of the hoop.
  26. Stitch all placement stitches at one time.
    1. CTRL-A or draw a box around all of the designs.
    2. Click UnGroup.
    3. In the Sequence Window move the second set of placement stitches up to the top of the window.

    4. Repeat for the other two sets of placement stitches.
  27. Click File, Save As.
    1. In the name field enter Around_The_Block.
    2. In the Save as type select the format for your specific machine.
    3. Click Save.
  28. Print the templates, or prepare your fabric and send the templates to your cutter.
  29. Load the design/designs onto your machine stitch the pieces for the block.
  30. Manually sew the pieces together to make the block.

 

My Block Piecer Block of the Month: Block 9 – Around the Block Sewing Instructions

My Block Piecer
Block of the Month: Block 9 Around the Block
Sewing Instructions

Block 9, Around the Block, is a four-unit block in the My Block Piecer Sampler Block of the Month. As you know, My Block Piecer splits some blocks into smaller units when a patch shares seam allowances with more than one patch. We’ll piece each of the four units in the hoop. Then the units will be removed from the hoop and sewn together on the sewing machine with ¼” seam allowance. In the software instructions for Block 9, we merged the four separate units into one embroidery design and combined the placement guides for each of the four units into the first color of the merged design.

Hoop tear-away stabilizer in a large hoop. Retrieve the merged Block 9 Around the Block design on the machine. Stitch color 1, the placement guides for all four units.

Place patch 1 fabric, right side up, over patch 1.Stitch color 2, the tackdown.

Place patch 2 fabric, right side down, over patch 1, aligning the raw edges. Stitch color 3, the seam of patch 1 and 2.

Flip the patch open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 4, the tackdown.

Place patch 3 fabric, right side down, over patches 1 and 2, aligning the raw edges. Stitch color 5, the seam of patches 1, 2 and 3.

Flip the patch open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 6, the tackdown.

Place patch 4 fabric, right side down over patch 1. Stitch color 7, the seam.

Flip the patch open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 8, the tackdown

Place patch 5 fabric, right side down, over patches 1 and 4, aligning the raw edges. Stitch color 9, the seam of patches 1, 4 and 5.

Flip patch 5 open and stitch color 10, the tackdown.

Place patch 6 fabric, right side down, over patches 2 and 4. Stitch color 11, the seam.

Flip the patch open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 12, the tackdown.

Place patch 1 fabric, right side up, over patch 1, in the next unit (top of the block in my design). Stitch color 13, the tackdown.

Place patch 2 fabric of unit 2, right side down, over patch 1, aligning the raw edges. Stitch color 14, the seam of patches 1 and 2.

Flip the patch open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 15, the tackdown.

Place patch 3 fabric of unit 2, right side down over patch 1 and 2. Stitch color 16, the seam.

Flip the patch open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 17, the tackdown.

Place patch 4 fabric of unit 2, right side down, over patch 3, aligning the raw edges. Stitch color 18, the seam of patches 3 and 4.

Flip the patch open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 19, the tackdown.

Place patch 5 fabric of unit 2, right side down, over patch 1, aligning the raw edges. Stitch color 20, the seam of patches 1 and 5.

Flip the patch open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 21, the tackdown.

Place patch 6 fabric of unit 2, right side down, over patches 1 and 5, aligning the raw edges. Stitch color 22, the seam of patches 1, 5 and 6.

Flip the patch open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 23, the tackdown.

Place patch 7 fabric, right side down, over patch 6, aligning the raw edges. Stitch color 24, the seam.

Flip the patch open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 25, the tackdown. Unit 2 is complete.

Place patch 1 fabric of unit 3, right side up over patch 1. Stitch color 26, the tackdown.

Repeat the steps above to complete unit 3.

Place patch 1 fabric of unit 4, right side up over patch 1. Stitch color 39, the tackdown.

Place patch 2 fabric of unit 4, right side down, over patch 1, aligning the raw edges. Stitch color 40, the seam of patches 1 and 2.

Flip the patch open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 41, the tackdown. Place patch 3 fabric of unit 4, right side up over patch 1 and 2. Stitch color 42, the seam.

Flip the patch open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 43, the tackdown.

Place patch 4 fabric of unit 4, right side down, over patch 1, aligning the raw edges. Stitch color 44, the seam of patches 1 and 4.

Flip the patch open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 45, the tackdown.

Place patch 5 fabric of unit 4, right side down, over patches 1 and 4, aligning the raw edges. Stitch color 46, the seam of patches 1, 4 and 5.

Flip the patch open and finger press the seam. Stitch color 47, the tackdown.

Remove the block from the hoop. Trim the units on the outer stitched line.

Sew the units together at the sewing machine.

Created by Nancy Stansbury

Lettering Like the Pros

If you want to get lettering like the pros, you need software that gives you multiple font options, the ability to kern letters, change line spacing, density and column widths.  Inspirations Perfect Embroidery Pro most certainly answers that call.

But if you want to put a stylized effect on your lettering with just a few clicks and instead of getting a master’s degree in digitizing (oh, I wish there was such a thing!), then Inspirations Word Art in Stitches is your answer.

Let’s look at the popular golf brand, Titleist.  Their logo is a simple, classy script but it’s enhanced by the addition of embroidery foam under the stitches.  If you visit their website, https://www.titleist.com/golf-gear/golf-headwear you’ll notice how all of Titleist’s catalog images are shot from an angle to highlight the dimension of the embroidered logo.  That adds serious wow factor to a traditional cap and sport!

In Word Art & Stitches, dimensional text is just a click away.  Whatch how easy it is. Select the Puffy text tool.

Type the word in the message box and boom – there’s your dimensional text.

This is such a popular technique that we teach it in our Stitch Lab events and everyone masters puffy text on their first try.

After teaching how to make it in the software, students learn how to stabilize and stitch the lettering on a pet bandana.  Everyone of those pet bandanas are sent to a local animal shelter.  Talk about a win-win!  Students learn and the shelter gains a customized bandana for their adoption days.

Check the calendar at InspiredbyDime.com https://www.inspiredbydime.com/inspiration-socials/  to see if a Stitch Lab is coming to your area.  You can fill out the form on that page to be notified when one is coming up in your region.  Hope to see you there!

 

 

 

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