Knitting plans

Today I’m not gonna share a FO, but a couple awaiting to be casted on instead.

First up is my next Grettir! Yep, the sixth one. This one here is for my brother who, strange but true, has never received a knit present from myself. I need to fix that and I’ve chosen do make him a sweater. A great sweater. Actually the Perfect Sweater! Too high expectations, you think? I’ve decided to go with Grettir because it has a great fit and I know my brother is gonna love the colorwork as much as I do. But to knit something that really suits him, I need to modify the pattern a bit. The idea is to add a front zipper, make a different neckline and of course choose the right colors. The first two points are very easy to accomplish and I’m more worried about the colors he might like and above all wear. I had NOTHING, can you believe that?, in my stash that could have been appropriate for him so I had to finally find an alternative to my beloved company Cephalopod Yarns. Out there, there are another couple of companies selling the same base, the Traveller, but I couldn’t see the right colors in their websites or they either were out of stock for ages and I needed the yarn now! I kept looking and eventually found a good alternative.

The yarn I’m gonna use is from Tanis Fiber Arts, an indie company based in Canada that hand dyes a good variety of yarn bases in a gorgeous range of colors. I’ve gone for the Yellow Label DK weight – it’s cute how every base is named after a color of the rainbow – a 100% superwash merino with a yardage very similar to the Traveller (skeins are 115g/4oz per 238m/260yds) so I might be able to use them together in the same project. In comparison, the twist of the Yellow Label is slightly tighter and maybe there is a bit less ‘puffiness’ going on, but overall I’m very happy to have chosen this yarn and I’m pretty sure is gonna work out great for this Grettir. Downside of the story, now I want all the colors Tanis dyes. I see another addiction coming along.

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Color-wise, my brother wears a lot of neutrals, like mauve, brownish greens and greys so I couldn’t go too crazy with colors as I’d normally would. I’ve purchased Olive for the body, Spruce for the darkest color in the yoke section – hoping that there will be enough contrast in between them two – and Chris Grey for the colorwork background. The latter has nice soft blueish undertones which are great next to the dark pine greens of Spruce. Just to let you know, Tanis website provide a truthful and accurate description of every color so it really is hard to choose the wrong one – I can’t stand when you see just a picture and no words to describe it as every device is different and it is often hard to get the right idea about a color. As third color in the yoke, I hope to be able to use some of my Traveller brightest greens adding a tiny little pop of color to the sweater. I’m extremely curious to see how this yarn knits up.

Also, are you ready for the 2014 Stephen West MKAL? The first clue will be released Friday coming and I have the feeling is like The Event of the year for every knitter on this planet. It’s his fourth edition and looks like is gonna be crazier and bigger than ever. For my version I’ve decided to finally use the San Valentine kit offered by CY in 2013, called ‘Love is a Four Skein Word’ and consisting in four different colors of Skinny Bugga. I’m gonna use only three of them – I still need to decide which ones thou – along with another Skinny in a darker wine color for contrast. The shawl will be very ‘me’, with plenty of pinks and reds which I love. I really can’t wait to get started and finally wind up all these lovely little skeins into balls of pure perfection.

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So, are you joining this super fun and exciting MKLA too?

 

P.S. In the last pic you may have recognized one of the great Design Seeds palettes. I visit this website on every day basis and I always find gorgeous color inspirations there – I love every palette Jessica posts dayly. Thank you for sharing!

VulcanSpyHat

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Here we go again with yet another Traveller project!
I knew I had to make this hat as soon as I saw it on Ravelry. It’s one of the latest patterns by Rililie and it’s incredibly cute, therefore I was obliged to knit it up ASAP.

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It has been windy here, all right? :)))

This first version – if you’re wondering, another one is already on the needles! – is my second 2014 Handmade Xmas Present and if you have read my blog before, you may notice that it matches another make of mine. No more spoilers, enough said!
VulcanSpy is a great pattern and has everything I look for in a hat: a good stretchy band, a nice close fit, lovely stitch motif and of course a pompom! Seriously, how can you resist a pattern with a pompom? I can’t.

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As I said I’ve used a DK yarn and I’m happy for that as otherwise I would have to use way smaller needles (the pattern calls for DK yarn too, but thinner, which I’d call Sport and not DK). I’m a fairly loose knitter but with Traveller I got straight away the right gauge. Mind you, with “the right gauge” I mean I’ve casted on the stitches for the smallest size, knitted the band and tried it on. It fit so I kept going and I assume I got the right gauge. It this called cheating? :)

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The last time I’ve done a tubular cast on was ages, maybe years, ago, but everything went well pretty much at the first try even if using 2.5mm needles and a thicker yarn didn’t help a lot! Anyhow, I’m very happy with the look and stretch of the band, it really fits properly without sliding down, which is great. Also those kind of short rows ear-flaps are awesome: ears will finally fell cozy!

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The stitch pattern all over the body of the hat is very stretchy too, so VulcanSpy fits snugly and warmly on your head, being perfect for those chilly snowy winters (ok, I miss winters a LOT!). To be honest, I couldn’t get the hang of the two twisted stitches to the left (T2L), so I’ve done a 1/1 cable twist instead. I knitted them much more faster and easier as cabling and funnily enough and I didn’t have any trouble doing the T2R. I read on Ravelry that other people had this problem, so I’m not that stupid after all! :)

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I think this pattern would be great for men too just removing one of the C2 stripes and making the hat of normal length, and maybe without the pompom – do men like pompoms? I don’t know. A couple of words about the pompom: I’m so much in love with Traveller that I was worried about using it in the pompom, kind of I didn’t want to waste it in making a pompom which I didn’t know if it would turn out ok. Even if it actually turned out all right, do you guys know where to buy nice faux fur ready made pompom? I tried to find them online, but no luck. Any ideas?

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Live long and prosper! :)

 

Ōshima Pullover

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Over a year ago, Cephalopod Yarns decided to surprise us customers dyeing a last round of Little Traveller. This yarn is the thinner version of my beloved Traveller – it comes in 115g skeins per 512m, so it’s a light fingering 3 ply, perfect for lace projects. That’s what I’ve used it for the first time I knitted something with it – you may, or may not, remember this beautiful shawl I’ve done for my mum a while back. But this time I tried something different.

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The Ōshima Pullover by the talented Olga Buraya-Kefelian has been in my queue since its release and I immediately saved the two skeins of LT I purchased in the color Hobart to knit it. But everything went really together like in a puzzle when I was in Italy and went to my LYS in Florence, the huge yarn store Campolmi Filati. There I bought some Super Kid Mohair in a deep eggplant color that complements very well the Little Traveller, with the idea of pairing the two in a squishy combo.

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Using the mohair with the light fingering merino gave extra softness and warmth – all I needed for a super comfy boxy pullover! – but obviously a thicker thread to work with and different gauge too (19 sts x 24 rows in 10cm against the 20 sts x 32 rows of the pattern). To get the right size I had to use different needles size and change the numbers a bit – I’ve basically followed the instructions for the smallest size recalculating the number of rows for each stripe. I wanted to keep this project easy and minimal, as it is, and I’m happy with how everything went together naturally and smoothly.

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The last feature was given by the different dye lots of my two skeins of Little Traveller. One had more cool blue tones, while the other one was leaning more towards red shades, so I had the idea of using the two different lots for the stripes. Instead of alternating the two colors every row to mix them together as I’d normally do, I’ve used them separately to knit the stripes as per pattern, creating a very subtle contrast. You can definitely notice the difference from distance, but the striping is very nice and soft, just perfect. I also love the purple halo of the mohair mixed with the Little Traveller beautiful warm rainbow of colors and it’s amazing how this yarn appears so different if in direct sunlight or shadow – it really glows when the sun hits it!
It’s awesome how all these little pieces – pattern, different yarns, different dye lots – played together so well and harmoniously. They really were made for each other.

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The only modification I made was to knit the sleeves longer – that’s because I wanted to use every last bit of LT, so I kept going until I run out of yarn. I really like the 3/4 length of the sleeves, I think they balance very well the relaxed fit if the body and they look very good rolled up too.

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Lastly, to make the sewing of the side seams easier, I’ve washed and blocked the pullover first. This way the edges were flat and unrolled and I could sew them together in a matter of minutes.

The Ōshima pullover has a fair amount of positive ease built into it, for a slouchy fit, and on me it might look even too big, but this isn’t for me – it’s the first of my Handmade Xmas Presents for 2014 and the recipient is a couple of sizes bigger than myself. That said, I’d wear this pullover without problems, I just love it!

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I’m very happy to have went out of my “comfort zone” of knitting exclusively with Traveller and it has been a nice change using different yarn weights and fibers, I really enjoyed it. That’s probably why I got this project finished in just a week – I’ve been knitting up a storm and I just wanted to see how this thing would have looked once finished. The whole pull is just plain stockinette stitch, but thanks to the stripes, isn’t too boring and I’d definitely make another one if my to-do-list wasn’t so crowded already. Ōshima is an easy pattern, but very cool indeed!

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This is what has come off my needles lately, what are you working on instead? :)

 

The Never Grow Up Grettir

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Yes, what you’re seeing is another Grettir pullover. The fifth one, to be exact (one, two, three and four!) and just to let you know, I’ve already purchased the yarn for a sixth one!

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This one is for my friend Martina, who saw my Grettir, the first I made, and wanted one for herself in the same colors. Lucky her, as I had another SQ of this gorgeous CY Traveller in Second Star on the Right in my stash. It seriously is one of my favorite colors ever. It reminds me of blood oranges which at home, in Italy, they are in season around November and Xmas time, so in my mind Second Star on the Right is the perfect color for winter garments.

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I’ve not much left to say about this pattern, but for this version I’ve followed the instructions for a size 44″ and no significant modifications were done. The only thing I did differently – and which I always perform on my bottom up sweaters for me it’s easier this way – was to provisionally cast on the sleeves, knit the yoke and then pick the sleeve stitches up again and knit them top down. Doing that I can both check if I’ve enough yarn – and adjust the sleeves accordingly – and also the sleeves length, trying the pullover on.

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The other colors I’ve used in this Grettir are: Jamaica Plain – the rich velvety burgundy, Bamfield – the ballet slip pink of the colorwork background, and an Oddity purchased from a destash on Ravelry – the sweet orangey pink. They really work beautifully together and I’m very happy with the warm look of this pullover, as I’ve said above, very autumnal. I hope Martina is gonna like it too!

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As you can see from the photo below, I’ve tried to keep my stranding relaxed and neat, avoiding any sort of pulling and tightness. This pattern is great as it comes with very helpful notes about casting on, working short rows and also on how to hold the yarns during the colorwork, when you’ve to use two or sometimes three different colors in the same row. The rule is holding the dominant color with the left hand – basically the motif color – and the background colors in the right one. This way the dominant color strands, on the wrong side of the garment, have to travel under the background ones, resulting in longer strands and therefore the dominant color, on the right side, pops up and shows better. It sounds something without much importance, but instead it makes a huge difference in the look of the colorwork.

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Now I’m off to finish the project I’m working on at the moment – it’s the first 2014 Handmade Xmas Present and I’m excited about it because it’s a bit different from what I’ve been knitting in last few months, both yarn-wise as well as shape-wise.
What are you working on instead? Did you already start on your Xmas projects?

 

Two Piece Set-Acular!

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Co-ordinates are the trend of the moment and the gorgeous Sophie at Ada Spragg knew it already several weeks ago when she thought to organize a Two Piece Set-acular party. How to resist? Well, I couldn’t, but my co-ord was completely unplanned, here is how it was born.

When I was in Italy I went shopping and bought a H&M fluted skirt which I feel very comfortable and confident wearing as I think it suits me, so of course I tried to find the perfect pattern to replicate it. McCalls probably read my mind when published M6842 because it really is the same skirt!
For this first version – because there will be more, no worries! – I’ve used an awesome printed cotton sateen – the print is truly gorgeous with deep blues and splashes of magenta, green and aqua and the weight just perfect for getting the right amount of flare.

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The last time I’ve used a Big4 pattern was ages ago so I really didn’t know which size to use and of course I chose the wrong one. Following the finished garment measurements chart on the back of the envelope and the measurements on the pattern tissue, I went for something in between a 10 and a 12 for the waist, grading down to a 6 for the hips. Comparing the skirt pieces with my RTW skirt I’ve immediately noticed a fair amount of ease difference but I went ahead and sewed the pieces together, taking care of increasing the SA at the side seams to 2cm. Not enough. My skirt was sitting slightly below my belly button, not at the waist as per the pattern envelope lady. Obviously, being faithful and hopeful, I tried the skirt on only once it was completely finished, facings and all. So, what to do? I put it on again and tried to pinch the sides, to get a closer fit and therefore raise the waistline, but in order to do so I should have unstitched basically the whole thing. No good. So I tried to pinch the back instead and decided to create two vertical darts, about 7cm from the zipper and just under 1cm deep. And it worked! The skirt sits now parallel to the floor and on my waist and it looks exactly as I wished.

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For the facing – instead of following the pattern – I’ve used the yoke skirt pieces so I could hide underneath the majority of seams. I’ve stitched my new facing in place following this Tasia’s great tutorial and the whole thing looks now very neat and tidy.
I let the skirt hang on my mannequin for a day expecting it to relax a fair bit, but the cotton sateen behaved beautifully and didn’t stretch a lot, so all I had left to do was to overlock the hem, turn it under and stitch it in place.

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Now, this awesome fabric just screamed to be used, every single centimeter of it, so I had to sew a top to go with my skirt and here it’s where the Two Piece Set-Acular came in hep. I knew I wouldn’t look ridiculous because there are heaps of example of co-ord around at the moment, you can see them everywhere, so I felt authorized to sew one for myself and give this gorgeous fabric justice!

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The top is my second go at the Grainline Studio Scout Tee (you can see the first version here). This pattern is very versatile – depending on the fabric you decide to use the look of the t-shirt changes dramatically and can be used in heaps of different styles. Also, in a matter of minutes and with very easy alterations, you can customize the length of the sleeves and body and add simple details, like pockets or different necklines. The Scout Tee is definitely a great pattern to hack.

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As before, I cut a size 8 at the bust, grading down to a 6 at the waist. Following Jen’s tutorial on how to sew a sleeveless Archer Shirt, I shortened the shoulder of 1.5cm each side, so the shoulder width would look like more as a tank top. I also cut the front and back necklines with a deeper scoop too – about 5 cm deeper at the back and 2 at the front, to create a more summery look and mainly because here it’s gonna be very warm very soon and the less amount of coverage, the better.

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Finally I’ve shortened the body by 10cm – otherwise the top would have looked too long on top of the skirt and also because I didn’t have much fabric left. To break the mono-patterning a bit, I’ve sewn a super cute pinkish Pom Pom trim to the hem – the color matches very well the fabric and helps keep the two pieces *separated*.

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This kind of set reminds a lot of what my nana could have sewn and worn back in the 60’s and 70’s, when the matching separates where popular, I guess on the lines of the beautiful Jacky Kennedy suits. Good times for fashion!

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So, are you joining the Two Piece Set-Acular party too and whip up a tremendous co-ordinate set?!

 

A Fringed Clover Dress

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As soon as I saw this pattern, I knew I had to buy it. Why? Because it’s extremely cute, easy and quick to sew and loose fitting, so perfect for summer!

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The Clover Dress is the newest pattern published by Papercut, in collaboration with Brooke Tyson (the original dress was one of the pieces of her RTW collection!). It’s the first time I buy a pattern from this company and I’ve to say I was speechless in front of such a lovely packaging – sticker included! I’ve also bought the Rigel Bomber and I wish the weather was going to be cooler instead of warmer so I could placate the urge of sewing it straight away. But sadly I think I’m not going to need any jacket for the next seven or eight months. Thank you tropical QLD!

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Anyhow for my first Clover dress I’ve used the Shibori rayon I dyed few weeks ago – it has the perfect drape for this kind of project and the perfect summer vibe too.
I’ve tried to cut the pattern pieces in the more interesting fabric areas, the ones with more spots and funny shapes, trying to avoid any strange pattern placements on my boobies. I kind of succeeded I think.

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I cut a size S for the upper bust, grading down to an XS at the waist and hips and I’m pretty happy with the fit. Thanks to the raglan sleeves, I didn’t have to make any fitting adjustments – as in the knitting world, they are pretty comfortable and relaxed by themselves.

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For the front diagonal panel I had used some white cotton lace, but the look of the whole dress was a bit off – sort of “grandma” or PJs looking – so I decided to dye the trim with the same navy dye I’ve used for e fabric. Of course the dress was already completely finished once I took this decision, so I had to dye the trim using a paint brush, avoiding spreading the new dye mixture all over the dress. And guess what? After all that work, I wasn’t completely happy with how the trim fit into the dress, again, so I cut it off. After a bit of thinking, I’ve purchased a ball of white t-shirt yarn (my idea came to life thanks to this fabulous necklace piece by the Wool and the Gang) and created a fringe which I’ve stitched on top of e panels by hand. I really like the look of the dress now that is a bit more “transgressive”!

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These diagonal front panels are really a blank canvas for creativity – you can play with different sorts of fabrics, colors, trims or whatever comes to your mind really to create different looks.

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I highly recommend this pattern, both because is easy to put together and sooooo cute and also because it really is very fun to match (or mismatch!) different prints and colors. Do it!

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A Fluoro Sheep

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This is my second Dessine-moi un Mouton by Rililie (you can see the first one here) and this time I’ve *followed* the instructions, knitting a pullover and not a cardigan!

The yarn I’ve used is, as you might have already guessed, Traveller by CY. I’m still very upset about CY shut down, but I’m happy to still have few more sweater quantities of their amazing yarn in my stash.

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The color I’ve used here is very special: it’s the equivalent of the Bugga! Bubble Coral, one of the colors released in the first CY Yarn Club season (Club Kraken, Narwhallie’s Delight, March 2013). As you can see from the photos, it’s a sweet mix of light pinks, fluoro orange, lilac and blue, as in a Bubble Coral in fact!

These four skeins have been in my stash for over a year, waiting for the right project, but my first inspiration failed, due to the variegation of the yarn. I really wanted to use them in Jenny the Fair, M.J. Muchelstone’s cardigan published in Ysolda’s book The Rhinebeck Sweater, but I haven’t been able to find the right colors for the colorwork. All the ones I tried in my swatch were or too light or too dark, giving me not enough or too much contrast, and most of them were too similar to some of the areas of the background, resulting in a very-hard-to-see motif.

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So colorwork wasn’t a good choice for this particular colorway, but I realized that a simple textured stitch as the one in Dessine-Moi un Mouton, was perfect for showcasing the beautiful variegation of the yarn, emphasizing all of the amazing soft colors present in each skein. That’s how my four skeins of Late Night Diner, which is the name of Bubble Coral in the Traveller base and which I think are the only four skeins existent on this planet, became a Fluoro Sheep!

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For this version I followed the instruction for size M and did very little modifications. The first one was using just one color for the stripes, which I’ve knitted using The Nexus, a pale fluoro orange that in some areas matches very well the orange in the background giving me a very subtle striping, exactly what I was aiming for. Also, the stripes are all the same width of three rows and I spaced them a bit more apart too compared to the pattern, all at the same distance.

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The other obvious modification I’ve made is knitting a different hemline. High-low hemlines are very fashionable and popular at the moment and I though it would go well with the boxy lines of this pullover. It’s knitted with short rows, which I’ve started about 1/4 of the way into the front and spaced every 2 stitches. Once I’ve reached the side “seams” I’ve knitted another couple of sets every 5 and every 10 stitches, to get a gentle curve, similar to the one in the Bluesand Cardigan. To highlight even more the hemline curved shape, I’ve casted off with the contrast color used for the stripes and I really like the result.

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For the edgings, I’ve opted for my favorite one, 1/1 ribbing which gives the right amount of stretch but also stability to the whole garment.
The neckline was prone to curling so I had to frog the ribbing and choose another bind off. I decided to go with the one proposed in the pattern instructions, but the edging is not perfect as I wish it was. I tried to fix the rolling with the blocking and a good steam and now it looks way better. My only concern is that is gonna wear out of shape sooner than the ribbing and I might need to re knit the neckline again, one day. We’ll see.

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I love pink – did you guess that? – and I hope none of my friends or relatives is gonna *steal* this sweater as I really want to wear it myself in a really nice and cold winter! In the meantime I fold it away, waiting for it and I cast on another …. Grettir! Yep, you read it right – I’m gonna knit the number five! A very good friend of mine asked for one in the same colors of my first one and luckily enough I’ve some more skeins of those colors in my stash, so here it comes, Grettir V! :)

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