Posts tagged Swatches
Swatching Grace by Denise Bayron: An experiment stranding Semilla Grosso with Silky Kid
Loom & Spindle - Grace Swatch

Swatching Grace by Denise Bayron

An experiment stranding Semilla Grosso with Silky Kid

It’s been an exciting year here at Loom & Spindle, we’ve spent many happy hours sourcing unique yarns and fibres from all over the world to bring you a fresh palette of textures to explore. 

One of our new favourites is the GOTS certified, Semilla Grosso by BC Garn. A smooth round yarn with exceptional stitch definition.

We’ve been enjoying the process of swatching and planning projects with Semilla Grosso and we’re eager to share all our experiments with you.

Today we’re taking a look at our swatch for the Grace pullover by Denise Bayron, as featured in Laine Magazine Issue 8.

This swatch almost didn’t make the cut. Grace is knit in a super bulky weight yarn at 2.75 stitches per inch. At a standard gauge Semilla Grosso knits up much finer at around 3.5-4.5 stitches per inch. 

Our pre-swatching suggested that we just weren’t going to get gauge using Semilla Grosso, but we had one last trick up our sleeve…

Read on to find out how we untangled this ball of yarn + how to get a 10% discount on the Semilla Grosso range!


PROJECT

Swatching Grace by Denise Bayron using Semilla Grosso and Silky Kid

Loom & Spindle - Grace Swatch

AIM

Knit a swatch for the Grace pullover to explore:

  • If an appropriate gauge can be obtained using Semilla Grosso

  • The fabric’s hand-feel at the resulting gauge, and

  • The suitability of Semilla Grosso for a pullover intended for a ‘super bulky’ weight yarn

SKILLS

  • Casting on

  • Casting off

  • Knitting flat

  • Working a simple cable pattern

  • Translating pattern instructions into swatch parameters

TOOLS

  • 5mm (US 8) knitting needles (we used Chiaogoo Spin Bamboo Interchangables)

MATERIALS

 

DESIGN

The swatch was based on the Grace pullover by Denise Bayron, as published in Laine Magazine Issue 8.

The swatch itself was to be very simple, we wanted to test Semilla Grosso in the knitted fabric and also work-in a 1x1 rib and one cable repeat to see how the design details would translate. The resulting swatch was knit over 26 stitches incorporating these design elements.

Loom & Spindle - Grace pullover Swatch-3.jpg

DEVELOPMENT

The pre-swatch – Semilla Grosso

We tried a few different needle sizes on some pre-swatch swatches. 

Using the needle size recommended in the pattern, 9.0 mm (US 13), the resulting fabric was extremely loose and airy and was not going to be suitable for garment construction.

 Sizing down, the fabric was more cohesive but lacked structure.

We found a satisfactory fabric was obtained on 4mm (US 6) needles, with a resulting 5 stitches per inch. The fabric was smooth, felt durable and had spring. Unfortunately, at this finer gauge the pattern as written would become unworkable for our intended size.

Loom & Spindle - BC Garn - Semilla Grosso - White 01-2.jpg

The final Swatch - Semilla Grosso stranded with Silky Kid

Before giving up we tried one last swatch stranding Semilla Grosso with Silky Kid by Kremke Soul Wool. Our theory was, that by adding a strand of mohair we could knit at a looser gauge with the mohair halo filling in the ‘gaps’ to help maintain the structure of the fabric.

So finally, on 5mm (US 8) needles we discovered a soft silky fabric that had both stitch definition and structure, was surprisingly drapey and had a luxurious halo. And, the resulting gauge would allow us to work the pattern as written with only a few minor adjustments!

Loom & Spindle - Grace Pullover Swatch-1.jpg
Loom & Spindle - Grace Pullover Swatch-8.jpg
Loom & Spindle - Grace Pullover Swatch-7.jpg
Loom & Spindle - Grace Pullover Swatch-10.jpg

FINISHING

The swatch was soaked in a bath of cool water for around 5 minutes, the excess water pressed out using a towel. The swatch was then pinned out on a blocking mat, attention given to straightening the cable detail and aligning the stitches before being allowed to dry.

Final measurements:

  • 14 stitches over 10cm (4'')

  • 20 rows over 10cm (4'')

  • Overall dimensions, 15cm x 15cm (6'' x 6'')

INSIGHTS AND OPPORTUNITIES

GAUGE

With our pre-swatches telling us that Semilla Grosso and the Grace pullover might just not be compatible, we were really pleased to find a workable gauge when adding a strand of mohair.

Loom & Spindle - Grace Sweater Swatch-2.jpg

FABRIC

Semilla Grosso delivered smooth well-defined stitches, making the cable pattern pop. The mohair halo supported the looser gauge and provided structure and durability to the knitted fabric. These elements all came together to create a drapey fabric with a lustrous look and silky hand-feel.

Loom & Spindle - Grace Sweater Swatch-4.jpg

FINAL THOUGHTS

The super bulky weight yarn used in the pattern lends a certain look and feel to the original piece. Though we haven’t recreated this fabric, we think we’ve come up with something interesting that could be applied to this pattern with great results.

Ultimately, stranding Semilla Grosso with Silky Kid turned the Grace pullover into a viable project option for these yarns. We’ve done some preliminary calculations on working the pullover at this gauge and think we’ll get some exciting results. Stay tuned!

Loom & Spindle - Grace Sweater Swatch-6.jpg

THANK YOU FOR READING!

Would you like to save this swatch for later? 

Add this swatch to your Ravelry favourites HERE.

+ Subscribe to the Loom & Spindle e-newsletter and get a 10% discount on the Semilla Grosso range!


 

Keep on swatching…

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Swatching with Cotton Fine: A knitted sample of Tegna by Caitlin Hunter
Loom & Spindle - Cotton Fine - Tegna Swatch-2.jpg
 

Swatching with Cotton Fine

A knitted sample of Tegna, by Caitlin Hunter

Here at Loom & Spindle, we’re proud omni-crafters! Passionately dabbling in all things fibre.

Today we’re taking a look at our first knitted swatch for Cotton Fine. Specifically, a sampler of Caitlin Hunter’s popular Tegna pattern.

We thought this light-weight summer style would be a good match for this sumptuous blend of Pima cotton and merino wool.

We knit the swatch to explore the interaction between gauge, knit fabric and fibre and assess the suitability of the yarn for a knitted project featuring lacework.

Below, we’ve included our notes on how we interpreted the pattern to become a swatch and our thoughts on the resulting fabric.

This ‘recipe’ is a great starting point if you want to have a go at swatching for your next knitting project.

P.S. At the end we’ve detailed the yardage required for all sizes should you wish to knit your own!

Loom & Spindle - Cotton Fine - Tegna Swatch-5.jpg

PROJECT

A knitted sample of Tegna by Caitlin Hunter, using Cotton Fine by Brown Sheep Co.

AIM

Knit a swatch in Cotton Fine to explore:

  • The fabric’s hand-feel at the resulting gauge

  • The suitability of Cotton Fine for lacework, and

  • Knitting garments in Cotton Fine

SKILLS

  • Casting on

  • Casting off

  • Knitting flat

  • Reading charts for lacework

  • Familiarity with decreasing, yarnovers, knitting through the back loop

  • Translating pattern instructions into swatch parameters

TOOLS

  • 3.25 mm (US 3) circular needles (we used Chiaogoo Spin Bamboo Interchangables)

  • Scissors

  • Tapestry needle

MATERIALS

 

PLANNING

We focused on setting parameters for the piece and interpreting the pattern to accommodate the swatch.

SIZE

  • Working with the patterns suggested gauge of 22 stitches over 10cm (4'') in stocking stitch and the stitch count for the lace repeat, we decided three lace repeats would provide a reasonable sample size and a visually balanced sample.

  • 60 stitches were required for the cast on.

SETUP

  • Cast on: Long-tail method

  • Cast off: A tapestry needle to thread the yarn tail through live stitches

LACEWORK

  • The pattern details the lace repeat both written (worked in the round) and as a chart.

  • We chose working with the chart as the visual aid was convenient when working the swatch flat.

  • We used stitch markers to define the beginning and end of each lace repeat.

NOTES

  • As 3.25mm was the needle size suggested in the pattern, we thought this would be a good starting point to explore gauge.

  • Our swatch will be knit flat as noted above. Please note the Tegna pattern, as written, is worked in the round.

METHOD

STEP 1

60 stitches were cast on using the long-tail method.

STEP 2

The lace repeat was worked flat until the end of the chart.

STEP 3

Approximately 10cm (4'') was knit in stocking stitch to complete the swatch.

STEP 4

The live stitches were secured by simply threading the yarn tail through the loops using a tapestry needle.

FINISHING

The swatch was soaked in a bath of cool water for around 5 minutes, the excess water pressed out using a towel. The swatch was then pinned out on a blocking matt, attention given to opening up the lacework and aligning the stiches that frame the lace detail.

GUAGE

The final measurements were:

  • 22 stitches over 10cm (4'')

  • 28 rows over 10cm (4'')

  • Overall dimensions, 20cm x 25cm (8'' x 10'')

INSIGHTS AND OPPORTUNITIES

THE GAUGE

Amazingly, we got gauge! When does that ever happen ;)

Though, it’s important to note that we worked the swatch flat. Working in the round could produce a slightly different row gauge.

Based on these results we’d go ahead and knit the garment on 3.25mm needles, monitoring row gauge and adjusting the body length in the stocking stitch section if necessary.

Loom & Spindle - Cotton Fine - Tegna Swatch-7.jpg

THE FABRIC

At this airy gauge, Cotton Fine has produced a soft drapey fabric with a smooth hand-feel.

The cotton/merino blend offers great stitch definition, the detail in the lace panel is clear and structural elements well defined.

The resulting texture is feminine and cool.

Loom & Spindle - Cotton Fine - Tegna Swatch-1.jpg

FINAL THOUGHTS

The lacework was intuitive and the pattern easy to follow. Using stitch markers definitely helped us track the lace repeats and catch those missed yarnovers!

Cotton Fine worked up nicely and we think it has great potential for light-weight knitted garments.

Tegna is an exciting introduction to both lacework and knitted garment construction and is highly recommended to anyone motivated to give it a try.


THANK YOU FOR READING!

Tegna by Caitlin Hunter can be found on RAVELRY.
Knitting in Cotton Fine? Here’s what you’ll need:

  • X-Small - 4 Skeins

  • Small - 4 Skeins

  • Medium - 5 Skeins

  • Large - 6 Skeins

  • X-Large - 6 Skeins

  • 2X-Large - 6 Skeins

  • 3X-Large - 7 Skeins

 
 

More on Cotton Fine…

 

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Swatching with Cotton Fine: A woven Sampler in Plain-Weave
Loom & Spindle - Cotton Fine Swatch at 10epi-14.jpg
 

Swatching with Cotton Fine

A woven Sampler in Plain-Weave

With the recent introduction of Cotton Fine to the Loom & Spindle yarn range, we’ve been excited to explore our new yarn.

Our first swatch is a woven sampler in plain-weave, woven at a sett of 40ends/10cm (10epi) on a rigid heddle loom.

Our aim was to explore the fabric’s hand-feel, interaction of colour and the effect of using a finishing technique to full the fabric and set the fibres.

We’ve detailed the project below to offer insight into our planning and methodology, and our thoughts on the resulting fabric. This recipe is a great starting point if you want to have a go at swatching for your next weaving project!

 
Loom & Spindle - Cotton Fine Swatch at 10epi-16.jpg
 

PROJECT

A woven sampler in plain-weave, woven at 40ends/10cm (10epi), using Cotton Fine By Brown Sheep Co.

Loom & Spindle - Cotton Fine Swatch at 10epi-3.jpg

AIM

Weave a plain-weave fabric in Cotton Fine to explore:

  • The fabric’s hand-feel at a sett of 40ends/10cm (10epi)

  • The interaction of colour when using three shades; and

  • The effect of using a finishing technique to full the fabric / set the fibre.

 SKILLS

  • Calculating yardage

  • Warping a rigid heddle loom

  • Preparing the warp for weaving

  • Hem stitching, to secure the warp and weft

  • Balanced plain-weave

 TOOLS

 MATERIALS

PLANNING

As the materials and tools were pre-established, planning was limited to determining an appropriate size for the sample, approximating the metreage required, and defining colour placement. 

SIZE

It was determined that a sample size of 30cm x 45cm (12"x 18") would be sufficient to examine hand-feel, colour interaction and allow for any shrinkage that may occur during finishing.

METREAGE REQUIRED FOR WARP

  • Length of piece, 45cm + extra length for warping, 60cm (30cm each end)
    Total warp length, 105cm

  • Warp width, 30cm X No. warp ends at 40ends/10cm
    Total no. warp ends, 120

  • Metreage required for warp:

= No. warp ends x Total warp length
= 120 x 1.05m
= 12600cm or 126m

METREAGE REQUIRED FOR WEFT 

  • At 40ends/10cm, No. weft passes over 45cm = 180

  • Metreage required for weft:

= No. weft passes x Warp width
= 180 x 30cm
= 5400cm or 54m

TOTAL METREAGE

  • Total metreage required

= Warp + Weft
= 126m + 54m
= 180m

COLOUR PLACEMENT

  • The placement of colour was kept simple, the three colours being divided in blocks evenly across both warp and weft.

  • Warp, 40 ends per colour

  • Weft, 60 ends per colour (or 15cm of length, per colour)

 NOTES

  • These calculations tell us that at 196m per skein, one ball of Cotton Fine would be enough to make a sample of this size. 

  • As the plan was to use three colours in equal quantities in this piece, we divided the total metreage by three to determine the amount for each colour, 180m divided by 3 = 60m per colour.

METHOD

STEP 1

The rigid heddle loom was warped and colours placed as per the planning notes.

Loom & Spindle - Cotton Fine Swatch at 10epi-9.jpeg
Loom & Spindle - Cotton Fine Swatch at 10epi-8.jpeg

 STEP 2

3cm of ground weave was woven with leftover Cotton Fine to help evenly space and tension the warp.

STEP 3

Weaving began using the first colour in the sequence,.

Once the fabric was established, a row of hem-stitch was used to secure warp and weft at the beginning of the piece. 

Loom & Spindle - Cotton Fine Swatch at 10epi-4.jpg

STEP 4

Weaving continued, changing colours as required until each colour section was completed. 

Once complete, a row of hem-stitch was used to secure warp and weft before cutting the piece from the loom. 

Loom & Spindle - Cotton Fine Swatch at 10epi-5.jpg

FINISHING

The sample was finished by undergoing a full wash cycle in a washing machine and dried in a tumble dryer using a regular heat setting.

This treatment contradicts the recommended care instructions for Cotton Fine, but we thought this experiment was warranted to help set the weave and allow the fibres to bloom.

INSIGHTS AND OPPORTUNITIES 

THE FABRIC

The resulting fabric has a great lightness and after finishing is quite soft to the touch. 

At this sett, the fabric feels smooth and has excellent drape. 

Though it’s not a firm weave, the fabric feels like it would be somewhat hard-wearing and have some longevity when used in pieces that will see some wear-and-tear. 

THE COLOUR

The effect of the bold colour blocking produces a homey fabric and in the chosen colour palette has a somewhat vintage feel. 

Working with three colours allows for endless permutations that can be used to influence the look and feel of the fabric.

APPLICATIONS

From our results we think the fabric would be best suited to household napery and table linens.

The drape suggests that with a bit of fine tuning there is scope to work the fabric into garments, maybe simple summer tees and tunics. 

We would like to experiment next by working the yarn up at a finer gauge with the aim of creating a denser fabric that could be used for towelling applications in the home – washcloths, tea towels, etc.

 
 
Loom & Spindle - Cotton Fine Swatch at 10epi-15.jpg

Thank you for reading!

To learn more about Cotton Fine please click HERE.

 
 
 
 

Let’s Get Started…

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How to Weave Soft Transitions Between Two Solid Weft Colours: A Tapestry Workshop
Loom & Spindle - Colour Transitions Tapestry Workshop

Last week we welcomed Woolsey, the first weaving yarn by Loom & Spindle.

But more notably, we welcomed COLOUR to the Loom & Spindle range - 8 glorious shades to be precise!

I’d thought we’d continue our exploration of Woolsey as a weaving yarn with a tapestry workshop in colour transitions.

It’s a technique I developed for working soft transitions between two solid weft colours.

It requires the weaver to visually divide up the area of colour transition and assign a ratio of weft colour to each section.

By determining the metric - how many times per row the weft rises over the warp, we can establish a percentage for each colour that’s to be woven and create the visual effect.

Once the intention of the technique is understood, the technique itself is quite freeform and can be woven without rigid structure.

So, grab a pair of your favourite Woolsey colours and let’s start weaving!


TAPESTRY WORKSHOP: Weaving Colour Transitions

INTENTION

Soften the transition between two solid weft colours by alternating weft threads over the horizontal plane.

SKILLS to practice and develop

  • Plain weave

  • Double half-hitches to secure weft

  • Weft changes using the half-hitch method

  • Maintaining weave sequence while alternating wefts

*To learn more about these skills you might like to check out our book - LINE SHAPE TEXTURE.

THE PLAN

  • Make a tapestry sampler that will measure 10 cm x 10cm (or 4" x 4").

  • The set-up will comprise a frame-loom warped with cotton thread at 16 ends over 10cm (4 ends per inch).

  • Establish a ground weave using spare thread to evenly space the warp and provide a firm base to begin the sample.

  • The weft will be secured with a row of double half –hitches at either end.

  • Use half-hitches and weft-floats (behind the work) to manage wefts as the colour transition is worked.

MATERIALS

METHOD
 

STEP 1

Sketch out and dimension the weaving area, or area of colour transition. I've used our Weaver's Graph Paper (which is available as a free download here) to sketch out the sample.

In this instance, the weaving area is 10cm x 10cm and we’re creating a transition over the horizontal plane. 

Divide the piece into five equal horizontal sections (see diagram below).

STEP 2
 

Plan out and assign a percentage for each section that will create a uniform transition between colours over the weaving area.

For this workshop, I've chosen a five-section transition to keep the weaving comfortable and percentages to be worked somewhat intuitive.  

Referencing the diagram below, sections 1 and 5 establish the transition colours and will be woven at 100% ‘saturation’.

The actual transition of colour occurs between sections 2, 3 and 4, the percentages for each section are detailed in the diagram below.

STEP 3
 

Using colour 1 (Yellow), begin the sample by establishing a row of double half-hitches. Ensure each hitch is knotted firmly to secure weft to warp.

Using plain weave, weave in Section 1.

I’ve attached a loop of thread to the warp to mark the end of the section.

 
Loom & Spindle - Colour Transition Tapestry Workshop
 

STEP 4
 

Hold-on to your bobbin, get ready to embrace your numbers…

In STEP 2 we established a colour percentage for each section. We now need to work out how many times the weft will pass over the warp and use this number to translate the percentages to actual weft coverage.

We know that the piece has 16 warp threads, so for each row woven in plain weave the weft will pass over the warp 8 times.

With this information we can convert each colour percentage to the corresponding weft coverage for each row.

This is the formula we use: 

Loom & Spindle - Colour Transitions Tapestry Workshop

Using our formula here are the weft coverage stats for each section: 

Colour Transitions - Diagrams 4.jpg

STEP 5

Armed with our weft coverage stats we can now break away from the scientific method and begin weaving the colour transition with a bit more feeling.

Beginning with Section 2 and utilising the half-hitch method for colour changes, weave-in (maintaining the established weave sequence) the first row by randomly placing two dots of Colour 2 (White).

Then, complete the first row by filling in the remaining sequence with six dots of Colour 1 (Yellow).

Our first row now reflects the colour percentage we specified for Section 2, 75% of dots are Yellow and 25% are White.

Repeat this step, row-by-row, maintaining the colour percentage and complete Section 2.

STEP 6

Continue working the piece row-by-row, changing the percentages of weft colour as you progress through each section.

Again, use a loop of thread or stich marker to mark each section as you progress. 

STEP 7

Once Section 5 has been woven, finish the sample with a row of double half-hitches to secure the fabric.

Cut the piece from the loom and finish as desired.

A FEW TIPS

  • I recommend that you work row-by-row and keep both wefts working in the same direction. This will make it easier to monitor the weave sequence, it can be quite easy to get lost once the second weft colour is introduced.

  • Use the progression of colour in previous rows to influence how you ‘randomly’ place colour in the next row.

  • As we’re using a small amount of Colour 2 in this first progression, it can be handy to use short cut-lengths of weft that wrap (half-hitch) around just one or two warps.

  • Don’t feel bound by the colour percentages, they are a guide. Monitor the fabric and place the colour where it feels right for you. You’ll notice in my sample weft colours clump together, I felt this added to the randomness of the transition and contributed a certain character to the piece.

INSIGHTS AND OPPORTUNITIES

The length of the colour transition and the frequency at which the weft colour percentages change is highly adaptable.

Ideas for further experimentation might include – working over a much broader area, working in more percentages to progress the colour change more gradually, or perhaps even making the percentages non-linear.

This method is not limited to the horizontal plane either. You could work this technique over almost any angle and with a bit of planning even apply it to more complex rectangular and radial colour transitions.

Oh, so many possibilities!

More experiments await…

 
 

FOR MORE INFO ON THE TECHNIQUES USED IN THIS TUTORIAL, CHECK OUT OUR BOOK LINE SHAPE TEXTURE.

How to Weave a Tapestry Sampler
Loom & Spindle Tapestry Samplers

For a while now I’ve been working on a special project for Loom & Spindle, a weaving yarn that's structure and composition has been carefully considered and selected specifically for tapestry weaving.

Exciting, I know! I’ll have all the details for you in coming weeks. 

But for now, I’d like to focus on one element of the project, weaving samples (or samplers, or swatches or whatever you’d like to call these tiny woven fabrics).

Sampling has been an important part of the project as it’s given me the opportunity to work with this yarn on a small scale and test the arrangement of elements that form the tapestry fabric – things like warp sett, weft weight, and colour harmony or disharmony.

Weaving a test fabric can be the defining moment in a new tapestry project. This little experiment between fibre and form will help you decide whether or not your configuration will work cohesively and convey the feeling you intended.

In preparing for the upcoming yarn launch I thought it would be useful to weave a sample of each new yarn colour to explore and share the fabric each produced. My thoughts were that this will help us both choose colour palettes and determine the suitability of the yarn for any future projects you or I might have in mind.

Here’s my method for weaving a tapestry sampler…


PROJECT: Tapestry SAMPLER

INTENTION

Make a small woven tapestry sample using Woolsey: A Weaving Yarn, to study the colour and texture of the woven fabric produced.

SKILLS

  • Plain weave.

  • Double half-hitches to secure warp and weft.

  • Weft changes using the half-hitch method.

*To learn more about these skills you might like to check out our book - LINE SHAPE TEXTURE.

PLANNING

  • My samples will measure 10cm x 10cm (or 4" x 4"), I find this sample size quick to weave and the warp sett is easily determined.

  • My set-up will comprise a frame-loom warped with cotton thread at 16 ends over 10cm (4 ends per inch).

  • I will use a ground weave of warp thread to evenly space the warp and provide a firm base to begin the sample.

  • The warp and weft will be secured with a row of double half –hitches at either end.

MATERIALS

METHOD

STEP 1
Space the warp evenly over the 10cm (4") warp width.
While carefully maintaining the warp spacing, begin the weft yarn by establishing a row of double half-hitches.
Ensure each hitch is knotted firmly to secure the weft to warp.

STEP 2
Using plain weave, weave in the body of the fabric until the piece measures 10cm (4") in length. If needed, begin any new weft threads using the half-hitch method.

STEP 3
Finish with a row of double half-hitches to secure the fabric.

STEP 4
Cut from the loom and finish as desired.

Loom & Spindle - Tapestry Sampler Method

APPLICATION

  • The method is fairly straight forward with no special notes to consider.

  • No modifications were made when weaving the samples.

  • To ensure straight edges and symmetry I did take extra care when working close to the selvages.

FINISHING

  • No finishing techniques were applied but I might use this sample in the future to test the effects of steam blocking on this yarn.

 

INSIGHTS AND OPPORTUNITIES

  • This method enables me to set up and weave a tapestry sample in about 30 minutes, allowing me to very quickly sample a new yarn or fibre.

  • It’s such a versatile method that it would also be useful for working a series of small tapestry projects.

Loom & Spindle Tapestry Sampler

THANK YOU FOR READING!

Our new weaving yarn has arrived, find Woolsey here.

 
 

FOR MORE INFO ON THE SKILLS USED IN THIS TUTORIAL, CHECK OUT OUR BOOK LINE SHAPE TEXTURE.

FREE SAMPLE AVAILABLE VIA OUR BOOK PAGE!


LET’S KEEP LEARNING…

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