Save Room for the Dessert Sampler Sew Along

By Christine Lux
on February 01, 2018
With 7 comments

Anyone else out there have a sweet tooth? Since I began quilting (ahem, quite a few years ago), I have enjoyed collecting all the sweet precuts that Moda has lovingly prepared and I even came up with a few of my own recipes for the Moda Bake Shop in recent years. 

So it should come as no surprise that when I saw this sampler at Quilt Market using their newest Color Cut Dessert Rolls, I knew I needed to make one!

And I thought some of you might want to make one too. And then I thought, "this would be fun to make with friends ..." and here we are!

I'm so excited to share we will be hosting a Quilt Along for the Dessert Sampler

Before I go any further, I wanted to share what I love so much about this quilt... 

First, these Dessert Rolls are special in that they contain prints from a variety of Moda designers and collections as opposed to being all from the same collection. If you've ever been stumped by mixing and matching, this is sure to build some confidence in your own sewing kitchen. 

And second, the sampler is a great way to try out lots of different blocks without having to make a bajillion of the same block. Sometimes I get bored (or just plain overwhelmed!) thinking about making 1,000 flying geese! We'll even be using some of Carrie's genius Cupcake Mix Recipe papers to make piecing and trimming a breeze. What an amazing assortment of block recipes you'll have at the end of this project!

Here's what you need to know: 

  • Kits for this quilt include all the fabric for the top and binding of this 70" x 78" quilt, including Moda's new Color Cuts Dessert Rolls, which are 5" x WOF strips that include prints from various collections and designers within a color way. 
  • Kits are expected to arrive in April, so we will be starting our sewing May 1st. 
  • Each week, we will make three blocks and finish up the sampler the last week of July. I'll be sharing a post for each block with tips you might find helpful. And I will also include a fun planning sheet to help you keep track of where you're at in the process. 
  • There will be prizes along the way! 

The gals at Moda were sweet enough to send me a kit a little early and I know you are going to love sewing this gorgeous quilt up! 

Learn more about kits and reserve your's here

I can't wait to sew with you this Spring! 

Nova Tote Sew Along : Making the Parts & Assembly

By Christine Lux
on January 31, 2018
With 1 comments

Whew!  The end of 2017 certainly got away from me over here. Something about holidays, travel, and you know ... life. But Santa loved it and enjoyed gifting this bag to a sweet friend of mine.

I did finish my Nova Tote quite a bit back and posted all these details on Instagram, but was slack about getting it added over here.  Ready?

Make the Parts: 

Once you have pieced the exterior pocket, you'll need to get it quilted along with the other parts of the bag. But first, let me say you should be sweet to your machine and give it a good clean out, some oil, and go ahead and wind some extra bobbins. 

I chose to spray baste my pieces to the Soft & Stable (S&S). I like to use 505 spray and will occasionally use Clover clips around the edges, but I prefer spray on smaller areas that I am quilting. Additionally, pins through S&S are a little difficult. 

I spray basted both the front and back to the S&S. 

You'll see that I left the space between the front and back exterior open - not a big deal as it will be covered by the bottom panel later.

I chose to quilt the exterior pocket with some concentric circle loopy things. 

For the back of the back, I marked a grid using a ruler and chalk and quilted straight lines with my walking foot. 

This was really easy to do. And I like the look of this. Note that really dense quilting will make your bag "shrink" so keep this in mind as you are choosing a style - you'd had to lose an inch or two in the width of your bag!

For the front side of the bag, I did some big chrysanthemum type flowers. I think they turned out really pretty :-) 

To make the inner pocket, sew the lining and the front together on the long edge. Then bring the top of the lining up to meet the top of the front and press the fold. We'll be binding the top edge later, so its fine that it is "open." 

Tuck the S&S piece in to the fold and baste and quilt. I did some of those large flowers again. 

Trim the pocket and the main bag panel to size after quilting. 

Next, let's make the straps. 

I cut my straps per the pattern and added some woven interfacing (SF-101) to the wrong side. I tucked in a length of S&S that was 1.25" wide by the same length of the strap inside one of the folds.

I like to use Clover clips to hold everything in place.

Then I sew 1/8" from the edge all the way around the strap and then come back and do a lap about 1/4" inside the first pass of stitching. 

Trim the completed straps to the appropriate length per the pattern. 

Bind the Pockets

For the binding, I cut one 2.25" x WOF strip and then cut that in half.  I folded each strip in half lengthwise. Attach the binding like you would a quilt -stitch to the front using a 1/4" seam and then finish on the back by hand or machine. 

I elected to use my Edge Stitch foot and finish by machine. After adding the binding on both pocket edges, I ran around all the edges of all the bag parts (pockets and main panel) with a line of stitching 1/8" from the edge just to keep everything nice and tidy. 

They look all pretty now and ready to go!

Assemble the Bag

Follow the directions in the pattern for the placement of the exterior pocket and the straps. 

I secured the straps at the top with some extra stitching. I have found that I am a little rough with my bag at times, so this is always a good idea for me. ;-) 

Attach the inside pocket next. I made this so that it was on the back side of the bag (still on the interior).

I placed the pocket 2.25" down from the top of the bag. I secured this with a line of stitches along the bottom. ** Be sure to more the pocket out of the way when you stitch down the contrast bottom panel next. **

Almost done!  Make the bottom contrast panel as per the directions. I used SF-101 on the wrong side here too. 

A tip for folding over an edge is to draw a line on the wrong side 2 x the width of the fold. So if you are folding under 1/2", draw a line 1" from the edge and fold to the line. 

Next, we're gonna finish this thing! 

I cut a 3" x WOF strip and bound the side seams after cutting out the bottom squares per the pattern. I used a 1/2" seam and then sewed right on the edge catching the other side to enclose the seam. (I did a few extra rows of stitching in the seam allowance to flatten all the layers down a little.) 

For the bottom corner seams, I didn't have quite enough left of my binding fabric, so I cut two 3" x 8" strips from the lining fabric leftovers to make the binding for these.

I folded the ends over and stitched it all down. 

I used a 2.25" x WOF strip for the binding on the top of the bag. I finished it to the inside of the bag by hand. 

Ok ... so that is pretty much it!  I did add a few lines of stitching (following the previous lines I stitched into the straps to add some dividers to the interior pocket. (To be up front, in hindsight, I would have made this pocket a little shorter as I didn't want to stitch through the bottom panel so my "divider" stitches don't go all the way to the bottom of this pocket. But this also doesn't necessarily bother me for how I planned to use this bag.)

Here are all the glamour shots ... 

Thanks for sewing along with me!  If you have any questions, send us an email at sewlux at gmail!

Happy Sewing!

Nova Tote Sew Along : Cutting Tips

By Christine Lux
on November 15, 2017
With 0 comments

Hi again!  Hope you are having fun making your pockets!

This weekend we will quilt and prepare all of the bag parts and then next week assemble it all and bind the inner seams. 

I am sharing some cutting tips for those of you who are making the large tote using Soft & Stable and planning to quilt in your lining and bind the seams. You will still need the pattern from threeowls as the cutting tips will refer to it. You'll note that some of pieces are larger than the pattern calls for and this is to allow for some shrinkage when quilting Soft & Stable.  We'll get it all quilted up and then trim it to size and assemble as called for in the pattern. 

Hope that all makes sense!  The cutting tips sheet can be accessed here.  If you have questions, let me know! 

Nova Tote Sew Along : Piecing the Pocket

By Christine Lux
on November 10, 2017
With 0 comments

Hi everyone!

It's time to get started sewing our the Nova Totes!  The pattern is from @threeowls and you can purchase the pattern to download from her shop on Craftsy here

I had a lot of questions about the measurements, etc for the pocket I pieced in my last bag, so I decided to make this pocket in the same way. Ready?

Select 24 charm squares (5" squares) and cut them as follows: 

You will then shuffle the fabrics up and sew them back together. Blocks should measure 3.5" once sewn back together. 

Next, arrange your blocks so that you are happy with the color and print placement. You should follow the diagram in the photo below. 

Five blocks will be cut in half on the diagonal as shown to create a "top half" and a "bottom half" as referenced above. 

You will also cut one block in half on the opposite diagonal to create a "left half" and a "right half." 

Place the half blocks in the rows as you layout all the blocks. 

You will sew diagonal rows together and press rows in opposite directions. Then sew the rows together. 

You will add the two bottom corner pieces (made from half of a 3" square). 

Your finished pieced pocket should measure about 10.5" x 21.5". We will trim it down after we quilt it to the Soft & Stable next week. 

You are welcome to piece your pocket however you like! This method is a fun way to show off lots of different prints or to even use up some precious scraps!

I will share some additional cutting/prep information later this weekend to help you get ready for next week's task of making all the parts.  We will quilt the pocket, main bag panel, make the straps, bottom panel, and inside pocket.  Then the week after we will put it all together! 

Happy Sewing!

Nova Tote Sew Along

By Christine Lux
on November 02, 2017
With 2 comments

Hi everyone!

I am pretty excited to share our newest sew along! We will be making the Nova Tote by @threeowls.  You can purchase the pattern to download from her shop on Craftsy here

I have made this bag three times (two of the large and one medium) size and I love how easy it is to make. I especially love the larger size - I can carry a laptop and notebook and more. It's great for work as well as travel. You're going to love it!

First things first ... the schedule: 

  • November 3 (today!) - Details and Supplies You Need
  • November 10 - Piecing the Pocket 
  • November 17 - Prepping the bag parts (straps, bottom, body, etc)
  • November 20 - Bag Assembly 

A few things you should know: 

As with most bag patterns, I put my own spin on them. This one is no different. The pattern calls for canvas; however, I prefer to use Soft & Stable and quilt all my pieces. You can make the pattern as originally written or follow along with my modifications. You will need the pattern for cutting and all basic instructions. 

You can sew this at your own pace.  However, we'll have some prizes for anyone starting a new bag and finishing it before December 4th!  ;-) More details on that later on.  

I always piece my exterior pockets on bags - this is the fun part!  You can piece your's or not ... it is totally up to you.  I am still deciding on how I will piece this one, but will provide some tips for several methods. 

This was the first Nova Tote I made, which was for a Sewvivor competition challenge.  As you can see, I did a lot of piecing of the bag. (More details here.)  I will likely only piece the pocket this time. 

 Ok ... the supplies you will need (assuming you will make it with Soft & Stable): 

  • Soft & Stable - 36 x 58 size (white)
  • 2 yards SF-101 Fusible Interfacing
  • 1 yard linen for exterior (straps, bottom, front panel) - I use Essex Yarn Dyed Black (Crossweave would also work)
  • 1 yard print lining fabric 
  • 1/2 yard print for back panel
  • 1 charm pack for piecing the front pocket (this will work for most styles) 
  • 1/4 yard print for binding 

Need a kit?  We're happy to help!  You can order a custom kit here - just leave a note at checkout with your fabric selections for the lining, back, charm pack and binding. 

Clover Clips and Clover Hot Ruler are helpful tools for this project. ;-) 

We're looking forward to sewing with you!  If you have any questions, feel free to email us or message us on Instagram @sewlux.

Crochet Trimmed Bias Tape Pouch

By Christine Lux
on July 11, 2017
With 0 comments

Crochet Trimmed Bias Tape is such a fun accent to use with patchwork projects!  Since we are featuring it in our July Pouch Club Kit, we thought we'd share some step-by-step photos for how we installed the tape in this particular project.  (Certainly, this can be used as a binding as well.)

Isn't our July pouch kit super cute?! 

For our tutorial, we are using our Sundrops Pouch Supply Kit with the yellow gingham bias tape (sold separately here). 

Step 1: Unfold the bias tape and flatten as best you can.  You don't need to get all the fold creases out, but you need to be able to trim 1/4" off of one side as shown below. 

Step 2: Lay the tape RIGHT SIDE UP on top of the edge of the right side of the patchwork panel. The trimmed side is along the edge of the patchwork. Finger press the crochet loops away from the edge so that it will not be caught in the seam.  (TIP: If this is making you a little nervous, glue baste in place or stitch 1/8" seam to baste before going to the next step!)

Step 3: Place the exterior fabric right side DOWN, pin, and sew a scant 1/4" seam. You want to be close to the crochet trim without catching it. 

Step 4: Press toward the exterior (away from the bias tape) and carefully press crochet loops away from the patchwork.

Step 5: Carefully tuck the unfinished edge of the bias tape under following the folded crease that was originally there before you opened it up. 

Step 6: Finish by top stitching the edge in place. 

Viola!  Your crochet trim is looking so cute! 

Continue making your pouch as instructed in our pattern. :)

Happy Sewing! 

Love All Around Mini

By Christine Lux
on January 20, 2017
With 0 comments

Hello again!

Our friend Lee over at May Chappell asked if we wanted to help share about her new project for 2017 using her "Love All Around" block pattern and, of course, we said "yes!" :)

Lee shares that she designed this block to celebrate love and kindness. Certainly, in today's world, there is always room for more of both of those things!  Lee plans to make a block whenever she sees these things displayed this year and is looking forward to having a sea of heart blocks at the end of 2017. What a great sentiment, right?

Check out her free tutorial for the block here.

I decided to make a mini to add to my mini wall at work ... I figured it would be a good reminder to stay positive and be kind, even when others might not be or when things seem to be going totally bonkers.

This little 8" block was easy to piece and I put together this 10" mini quilt in about an hour, including the machine binding! 

I had a layer cake of Regent Street Lawns and I thought these pretty florals would be perfect. The lawns are a dream to sew with - so soft and silky! The background and binding is Crossweave Graphite and it adds just a hint of sheen. 

I did some simple straight line quilting, but free motion would look great also!

Hope you'll pop over and say hello to Lee and maybe even stitch up some love and positivity this weekend!

Happy sewing!

Tutorial : Merit Badge Award Mini Quilt

By Christine Lux
on January 12, 2017
With 3 comments

Hey, hey! 

We all have a quilty friend who deserves an award for being awesome. Whether she (or he!) is the queen of scraps, or is always "sew happy" with their positive attitude, or even the crazy ones who maybe, you know ... run with scissors! LOL!

Today, I have a fun little mini quilt project to celebrate awesomeness! Speaking of awesome, when Moda introduced their merit badge collection last spring I knew I had to have them! And a fun award ribbon was my first project ... fast forward to now and our Moda Ribbon Challenge we are hosting along with Jen over at Heritage Threads and I finally got around to transforming this from sketch to a real live, hang-it-on-the-wall mini! 

For details about the Moda Ribbon Challenge, head over to Jen's blog post!

Here's what you will need: 

  • 1 Moda Merit Badge (they come in packs of 3)
  • 1 Fat Eighth + a coordinating charm square for award ribbon (I used Early Bird by Kate Spain - available this Spring)
  • 1 Fat Eighth background (I used Moda Cross Weave Black)
  • 1 Fat Eighth backing (I used Moda Essential Dots White Black)
  • 1 Jelly Roll strip (or 2.25" x WOF) for binding (I used Handmade Stripe in Black)
  • 1 yard Moda Ribbon (you know you have some hoarded! ;-)
  • 10" x 14" cotton batting
  • Paper, small square of cardstock, pencil, & compass (or circle template set)
  • Basic sewing supplies

Step 1: Make the Ruffle

Cut one 3" x 21" strip from your award ribbon fabric. Fold in half lengthwise WRONG sides together and stitch down the raw edges using a long basting stitch. Pull the ends of the thread to create a ruffle.  (Alternatively, you can also pleat your fabric, which is sometimes a little easier.) 

Next, draw a 3-3/4" circle on a piece of paper and cut on the line. You will use this as your guide to great the base of your award. 

Arrange your ruffled strip in a circle on top of the paper circle and stitch it down. I turned the ends under and overlapped them a bit where they met. (You can also hand stitch these ends closed if you like.)

Step 2: Make the Center Circle

Draw a second circle, this time 2.5" in diameter. I drew this on a piece of lightweight card stock. (The inserts in your Moda precuts are great for this! ;-) Cut out the circle. 

Next, place the circle in the center of your charm square. Using a needle, run a basting stitch around the circle.  Pull the ends of the thread to draw the fabric around the cardstock piece.  

Press well and trim away some of the excess fabric, if needed. (I used some Elmer's Washable School Glue to hold secure the edges down on the back.)

Step 3: Finish the Award Center

Place your merit badge in the center of the circle you made in step 2. Using a coordinating thread, sew it onto your fabric circle. (I used a navy thread and sewing just inside the aqua edging.) 

Cut eight pieces of Moda bundle ribbon about 1.5" long. Fold in half and arrange on top of your pleated piece. (Be sure raw edges will be covered by your badge circle.) Baste raw edges in place on the pleated circle. Set both the circle/badge and the pleated pieces aside for now. 

Step 4: Make the Tails 

From your fat eighth, cut two 2.5" x 7.5" strips. Staring with one piece, fold in half length wise with right sides together. Draw a line at a 45" angle at one end. This will create your angle. Sew down the long sides and along the angle, backstitching at both ends. Turn right sides out, carefully push out corners, and press. Repeat to make two tails. 

Next, cut two pieces of Moda bundle ribbon the same length as your tails. Center a ribbon strip on top of each tail and baste in place at the top. Trim the Moda ribbon to desired length. 

Finally, arrange tails under the pleated circle and baste in place. 

Step 5: Make the Mini Background

Note: make sure you are happy the size of your background compared to your award ribbon & tails before cutting!

Cut a background and backing rectangle approximately 10" x 14". Baste with batting in between and quilt as desired.  I used a grid of straight lines. 

Trim to desired finished size (mine is 8" x 12"). 

Step 6: Finish It!

Place your pleated circle with tails on top of your prepared mini. Pin in place. Then place your circle with the badge on top of the pleated section. Pin in place. 

Carefully stitch about 1/8" from the edge of the circle to secure all of the layers together - the circle/badge to the pleated unit and also to the mini/background. 

Using a 2.25" x WOF strip folded in half lengthwise to make your binding. Attach to the front by machine and finish as desired. 

Admire your work ... You did great!  Now go pat yourself on the back and give yourself an amazing acceptance speech!  :)

Hope you enjoyed this fun little project - I would love to see your award winning creations - link them up in the comments or tag me on IG (@sewlux) and use #modaribbonchallenge and #modameritbadges

Making a Weekender Bag : Sharing My Tips

By Christine Lux
on September 22, 2016
With 10 comments


Hey there!  This post is lonnnnnng overdue, but thank you to everyone who has patiently waited for me to finally sit down, edit some photos, and type up all the details on this bag. 

I have to say that I love how this bag turned out! It is definitely a favorite make so far and I will certainly make another with a similar construction method in the future (my mom has dropped a few hints!). 

This is my third Weekender Bag.  I have made two others and you can find all the details on those using this link (all previous posts about making this bag). 

A few details before we get into the nitty gritty ... 

Bag Pattern: Amy Butler Weekender Bag*  (I have heard this bag pattern is/will be discontinued.  As of 9/2016, we haven't been able to get more for our shop. I have used some construction methods from By Annie's Ultimate Travel Bag, which is comparable in size and style - more details on that later.  I would say it's worth the Craftsy class.) 

Fabrics Used: Robert Kaufman Essex Yarn Dyed Linen in Black, Aurifil Thread, and Sew & Sew by Chloe's Closet for Moda.  

Lining/Interfacing: Quilted with Soft & Stable using Aurifil thread. SF-101 was also used for some parts as well.

Construction Method Notes:  In the past, I have quilted panels to Drill cloth and then inserted a separate lining once the exterior of the bag was complete.  For this one, I wanted to quilt the panels with the lining in place and bind the seams to save the step of making and hand finishing the lining at the end. I also wanted to insert the zipper in a different manner as it was not important to me that it be hidden/semi-invisible as the construction of the original pattern calls for. 

In both of these instances, I referenced the By Annie pattern for construction methods ... more about that shared in the steps below. 

Let's chat more about the details here ... 

Panels and Pockets 

I really wanted these pockets to be special and the "star of the show" ... I chose to use a layer cake of Sew & Sew, which allowed me a lot of variety from the collection to piece my pockets. The large pockets are made of various small hexagon blocks from Jen Kingwell's Smitten pattern. 

The end pockets are both Thimble Blossoms Minis - the Handmade (flower) and a Mini Spool (modified slightly to add my initial). 

When I piece pockets for these bags, I always piece a section a little larger than the pattern piece. This is especially important if you are quilting the panels with Soft & Stable as heavy quilting will make it "shrink" a little.

Since I quilted my pocket panels with the lining in place, I decided to bind the top of my pockets instead of using piping.  If you use this method, be sure to consider the seam allowance you would lose by adding piping. So either trim and then bind the tops or be ok with your pockets being a little taller (approximately 1/2"). 

I outline quilted by pocket pieces. In the photo above, you can see I also quilted about 1/8" from the edge of the panels once I trimmed them to size to keep everything together nicely as I moved forward with the bag construction.

My large panels (sides of the bag) are quilted with a large grid pattern.  Again, I started with panels larger than the pattern piece to allow me to trim to size after quilting. 


I made my straps a little longer. :)  For me it was more comfortable. 

My straps are also constructed differently.  I started with a wider strip of fabric (4x desired width), added SF-101 interfacing and then folded in half lengthwise RST. I then folded and pressed edges in towards the center.  I added a strip of Soft & Stable inside one of the folds and stitched 1/8" from the edge along both sides and then a few lines of stitches down the middle as well. 

Zipper Installation

For me, the zipper installation method the Butler pattern calls for is a little fiddly. And involves using a seam ripper on purpose. I try to avoid that for any reason, if possible! ;-) 

The construction method that By Annie's pattern calls for was more appealing to me because of the fact that it is easier.  I also liked that it then allows you to have the seam between the zipper panel and the bottom higher on the bag and out of the way of the bottom curve.

NOTE: There is some math you will have to do to make this work.  I calculated the total circumference of the completed center (zipper/bottom panel) in Butler's pattern. I then increased my bottom panel length to make up for the fact that my zipper panel would be shorter using By Annie's method. Be sure to account for seam allowances!  Check your math - you wouldn't want to have to start over. 

(Neither of these are my patterns, so I don't feel I should share these measurements. If you have clarifying questions, please leave a comment or email me!)

Also, I started by quilting longer, wider-than-needed rectangles for my zipper panel pieces.  After inserting the zipper, I used the Butler pattern piece to trim my zipper panel to the correct size & shape.  If you do this, be sure to fold the pattern piece back to account for the seam allowance the pattern calls for when inserting the zipper.  Line this folded edge up with the center of the closed zipper and trim the outside edges.

A little about my zipper trim ... 

This is a favorite feature and kind of happened because I didn't have time to get a grey zipper.  I felt the white was too stark a contrast and so I thought a pop of color would be a good idea.  Fortunately, it worked out! 

I added a folded strip of accent fabric between the panel and the zipper tape. Then once the zipper was sewn down and the seam was carefully pressed, pinned the excess zipper tape back and stitched down the edge of the accent to secure it on the exterior of the bag. Since I used a purse zipper, which has a wider zipper tape, I was able to catch the zipper tape as I sewed the accent strip down and therefore encase my seam on the inside.

I did trim a little bit of the panel only (not the tape) as shown in the photo below to help reduce bulk in the seam. 

I used pins to hold the zipper tape back so I could top stitch a little easier.

And one more photo of this step. :)

The accent trim really adds a little somethin' somethin'. :-) 

No change to the piping instructions from Butler's pattern (aside from not piping the tops of my pockets) ... I do think that bias is worth the effort, but have done it both ways.  

Zipper / Bottom Panel 

So with how I inserted the zipper on this one, the seam for my zipper panel & bottom panel is much higher on the sides.

I encased my seam with a little bit of binding. (Reference By Annie's method.)

Ignore that I still need to hand stitch the binding on the inside in this photo! ;-)

After you join the zipper & bottom panels, attach the end pockets. Use the Butler zipper panel pattern piece as a guide (align with center of the zipper).  Be sure to account for the fact that you will have an inseam on the bottom of the end pocket piece when you place this!

I think that is most of my hacks for this particular one. 

Just some glamour shots for you ... 


Looking in from the top (need to handstitch the seam binding down...)

And then the end pockets (maybe my favorite)....

I based my "C" on the Spell It With Moda letters and just scaled it down. :)

I hope these tips are helpful to you!  I also shared some progress shots of this bag any my others on Instagram with #sewluxweekender

When I make this again, I will use this same method. I found working with the Soft & Stable to be pretty easy and I love that my bag is lightweight, but has shape (there is nothing in the bag in the above photos to prop it upright). 

If you are unable to source the Amy Butler pattern, I would definitely recommend the you go with the Ultimate Travel Bag pattern - it is very close in size and shape. Though each has different features (piping versus no piping; inner pockets vs. no pockets; carrying strap vs. no strap, etc)

Feel free to email, comment or hit me on IG with questions or if you get stuck. :-) 

Thanks so much for stopping by! I hope some of these tips/hacks helped you!

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