Making Podcast Woolful Podcast

Episode 44: Ryan Fitzgerald – Political and environmental studies, architecture, family business and Quince and Co.

December 23, 2015

taproot logo

Sponsor:  Taproot Magazine, is a quarterly print magazine full of delightful stories and photos written by and for people living fuller and digging deeper. Each issue is created around a subtle theme, featuring amazing recipes, crafts, and tales, all with the intention of inspiring people who are interested in deepening their connections to their families, communities, and themselves as they strive to live locally and closer to the ground. The content in each issue consistently blows me away. It is fulfilling and inspiring. I was thrilled to find that the most recent issue Shelter had a yurt on the cover, being that we just finished building our own yurt. This morning I laid in bed after having spent our first night in the yurt, reading this issue and soaking up all it’s goodness…for the head, heart and hands. You can visit Taproot Magazine online at and on Instagram @taprootmag.


Fiber folk: Like many of you, I’m a lover and supporter of Quince and Co yarns and all that goes into bringing this amazing brand to our fingertips. But many of you might not know the man behind the scenes. Ryan Fitzgerald is an integral part of what Quince and Co is today, working alongside his mother Pam and their incredible team to provide some of the most compelling pattern and yarn collections. His journey is a unique one, from environmental and political studies to architecture and then finding himself increasingly invested in Quince and Co. You can find Ryan at








taproot logo

Sponsor: I want to thank Taproot Magazine again for sponsoring this week’s episode. Right now Taproot has a special holiday pop up shop featuring goods from some of our favorite makers. From wooden bowls and planters to screen printed and paper goods. I highly recommend taking a look at and helping support all these amazing makers and Taproot who has brought them all together.


Woolful Knit-a-long: And if you’ve seen the latest issue of Taproot, Shelter, then you know of the most recent pattern from Carrie Bostick Hoge, the Portland Pullover, designed in Brooklyn Tweed’s Shelter yarn. I’m in love with the elegant yoke of this design, and it’s neckline. So much so that starting January 1st I’ll be hosting the next Woolful knit along featuring the Portland Pullover. I’ve ordered my yarn today and I hope you’ll join me in the New Year, rewarding yourself with some selfish knitting after the holidays. I’ll share more on the blog in the coming week. And if you don’t already subscribe to Taproot, visit to subscribe or grab the latest issue Shelter which is where you can find this pattern.


52 Weeks of Wool: I have an exciting new project starting in January, 52 weeks of wool. Each week I’ll be hand spinning a new wool breed from a fiber flock from here in the US or abroad, and sharing my experience through photos, on the podcast and in a blog post. My goal for this project is to handle as many different types of wool as possible, and share a bit about each farm and flock that the wool comes from, helping bring light to many sheep breeds and producers. If you have a flock, fiber farm or know someone who does, I hope you’ll consider joining me on this project by sending me a small tuft of fleece to spin. If you’re interested, shoot me an email at


Update: And for those of you who listened to last week’s episode, you know that we are in the process of insulating our yurt with wool insulation from Montana Green Insulation, which happens to be last week’s guest. The 500 + lbs just arrived and we’re gearing up to spend some long days under the yurt insulating the flooring. We’ll eventually also add a second layer of insulation to the walls, but for now insulating the flooring will help us the most. Stay tuned as we share more of our process and the results.


Giveaway: The winner of last week’s giveaway is, Lissa Zambo. You’ve won the most recent issue of Taproot magazine and two gorgeous skeins of handspun Polwarth, mohair and silk yarn and the Groh shawl pattern from Boho Chic Fiber Co. Congratulations!

This week’s giveaway is sponsored by Taproot Magazine and they’re giving away a two year subscription to Taproot. To enter this giveaway, leave a comment on today’s episode’s blog post.




Music by Jónsi.

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  • Reply Megan M December 23, 2015 at 12:06 pm

    Happy holidays, Ashley! This episode will keep me company as I slowly make my way out of DC tonight. Thanks for a wonderful year of content, and here’s to the next!

  • Reply Ady Grafovna December 23, 2015 at 12:27 pm

    What a beautiful sweater! I just ordered an issue of taproot. It looks like a great magazine!

  • Reply Chantelle December 23, 2015 at 12:55 pm

    That would be a very nice subscription to win. Good luck everyone

  • Reply janet December 23, 2015 at 1:31 pm

    Just stumbled across your blog and podcast – it’s lovely – a feast for the eyes and the heart.

  • Reply Erin December 23, 2015 at 1:33 pm

    Oo, Taproot….How cool.

    Happy holidays, everyone!

  • Reply Abby December 23, 2015 at 1:36 pm

    Oh man, I love Taproot! Would love to win!

  • Reply Jennifer Figgins December 23, 2015 at 2:16 pm

    Love Quince and Co. and Taproot. Hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday.

  • Reply Dana December 23, 2015 at 3:35 pm

    Taproot is so lovely, thanks for the chance to win. 🙂

  • Reply Mary Gehling December 23, 2015 at 3:49 pm

    I’m so glad I’ve discovered your podcast. Your thoughtful interviews with interesting folks from the fiber industry is exactly what I enjoy in a knitting podcast. Thank you for your efforts.

  • Reply Monica December 23, 2015 at 4:52 pm

    A two year subscription? Like I could say no to that!!

  • Reply Brittany December 23, 2015 at 5:54 pm

    I’m loving that sweater pattern too! Thanks for sharing another wonderful interview.

  • Reply Rachel B. December 23, 2015 at 7:44 pm

    Happy Holidays! As a fan of Quince and Co., I really enjoyed your conversation with Ryan Fitzgerald (and with Pam Allen, for that matter)! Thank you for delivering such a wonderful podcast!

  • Reply Susan December 23, 2015 at 8:02 pm

    Trying to cut back on my book and magazine purchases in 2016, so the subscription to Taproot would be appreciated, especially as I’ve yet to get my hands on a Taproot issue!

  • Reply Julia de Boer December 23, 2015 at 8:11 pm

    So excited to learn more about Quince. And very generous of Taproot!

  • Reply Charlotte December 24, 2015 at 12:48 am

    Thanks for another great podcast, I’m listening while making fudge as a last-minute Christmas gift. Good luck with the insulation.

  • Reply janet December 24, 2015 at 6:05 am

    Thank you for your wonderful podcast. Looking forward to your adventures.

  • Reply Cathy December 24, 2015 at 7:03 am

    Would love to win! I so enjoy listening to these podcasts.

  • Reply Jenifer December 24, 2015 at 7:37 am

    Your podcast has been a lovely gift this year. Time to take a breath, learn more about this wonderful industry, and to build on my interest in US yarns. I have just purchased my first, all-US yarn (Heirloom Romney) and am just in love with it. I thought such yarn was just “scratchy” but that only shows my ignorance and fear. But no more, it is a dream to work with and I am so looking for the resulting sweater. Quince has also been on my list and there are so many beautiful patterns that would highlight the yarn.

    Please include me in the Taproot giveaway. This is another resource that I have learned more about through your podcast and would love to read.
    Merry Christmas.

  • Reply Margaret December 24, 2015 at 9:50 am

    It was fun to hear Ryan’s side of the Quince & Co story. Thanks as always for a great podcast.

  • Reply Mr. Josiah Bain December 24, 2015 at 10:32 am

    Love this. Thank you so much. 🙂

  • Reply Vikki December 24, 2015 at 10:35 am

    I really enjoyed hearing a story of a man who doesn’t knit. I was waiting to hear how he finally casted on but nope lol. Thanks for the opportunity to win a subscription to taproot. Happy holidays and happy new year!

  • Reply Kim strand December 24, 2015 at 11:13 am

    I love your podcast and all that you are doing. The opportunity to win a subscription to Taproot is such a lovely gift. Wishing you and yours very happy holidays and a new year filled with many blessings.

  • Reply Emily Boyd December 24, 2015 at 11:22 am

    Thank you for this episode! I love Quince and Co, plus they are based out of my home state of Maine. 🙂

  • Reply Naomi December 24, 2015 at 12:12 pm

    Merry Christmas!

  • Reply Lacey Goeringer December 24, 2015 at 3:29 pm

    Love your podcast! I enjoy hearing of your yurt adventures and can’t wait to hear more! Merry Christmas ❄️✨ thank you Taproot Magazine for the awesome giveaway and all you do absolutely love your publication!!! Can’t wait to see what this new year brings with you both! Thank you!

  • Reply Christina December 24, 2015 at 6:17 pm

    Absolutely love Taproot. Loving what you do and learning about all your adventures.

  • Reply Chrystal Bailey December 24, 2015 at 6:24 pm

    What a wonderful prize! I have been a subscriber to Taproot for 3 years now and don’t see my life complete without it!

  • Reply Finelightness December 24, 2015 at 8:02 pm

    Me, too! I adore Taproot! And your yurt is amazing, it must feel quite thrilling for you all to be on this path of life. Congratulations for all you have done and all the best for the new year!


  • Reply Marguerite Leahy December 25, 2015 at 7:58 am

    Another lovely episode. Thanks so much, it’s always so inspiring. I hope you have had a lovely Christmas.

  • Reply Cyrena December 25, 2015 at 8:54 am

    Woolful is a wonderful podcast and Taproot is exactly what I want to be reading right now.

  • Reply Neza December 25, 2015 at 11:16 am

    Happy holidays to you and all your people, dear Ashley!
    Thank you for your lovely and informative interviews and posts.
    Can’t wait for your report on the insulation.
    Love and peace!

  • Reply Julie December 25, 2015 at 12:07 pm

    Another great episode! So many of these podcasts make me proud to be a Mainer.

  • Reply Jenny Depa-Karl December 25, 2015 at 1:32 pm

    Creative minded people… love the magazine and resources it provides! Thanks!

  • Reply Bonnie Klatt December 25, 2015 at 3:18 pm

    Great episode and LOVE taproot!

  • Reply isabel December 25, 2015 at 3:33 pm

    I was just getting ready to sit down with my issue of Taproot and decided to check in with you first. Another excellent podcast! But what I loved most was the peak at the inside of you yurt! Yay you and yours for making dreams come true. regards,

  • Reply Traci December 25, 2015 at 4:50 pm

    So interesting to hear from Ryan’s perspective about the business. I was also thinking about what it’s like to move into your new home right before Christmas. That’s what we did on the 23rd, twenty years ago, with one small child. Such memories we have of our first tree here surrounded by boxes and so many projects. Makes me smile.

  • Reply Terri December 25, 2015 at 7:45 pm

    Ohhh, I’d so love to get a subscription to Taproot. As for Quince & Co., I hope they don’t change! I’m currently knitting myself a Hitofude out of their Finch yarn.

  • Reply Amanda Smith December 25, 2015 at 8:05 pm

    This was a really good episode! For some reason I just love it when you feature men in the fiber business, I think it’s a nice departure from an almost exclusively female community. It’s nice to hear how diverse the fiber community can be. I also think Taproot is a very thoughtful and genuine publication, a rarity these days. Good Work!

  • Reply Elaine December 26, 2015 at 1:05 am

    I would love a chance to work with them. They have an amazing company. Thank you for providing more interesting interviews. Another great one.

  • Reply Katherine December 26, 2015 at 4:52 am

    I love that knitting and what it entails really is a generational love; something that become part of the fiber of your being. It was so interesting to hear how that manifested itself at Quince.

    Wonderful giveaway; yes, please!

  • Reply April Flowers December 26, 2015 at 4:59 am

    Great episode and very generous giveaway!

  • Reply Julia December 26, 2015 at 5:25 am

    Merry Christmas!
    Juliaknit on Ravelry

  • Reply Jill December 26, 2015 at 6:50 am

    Thank you for another great interview! And what a wonderful giveaway! I love Taproot!

  • Reply Savannagal December 26, 2015 at 6:57 am

    Several months ago I tried to find a copy of Taproot magazine, but there were only 2 places in Chicago that were listed as having them, and neither were nearby. Chicago is a very large city after all. I’ve heard great things about the magazine. It’s a shame it’s so hard to find. Thanks for another great podcast.

  • Reply Jeanette December 26, 2015 at 7:32 am

    I’m really enjoying this podcasts! Taproot is a wonderful mag…thanks for the chance to win.

  • Reply LuisaM December 26, 2015 at 9:16 am

    Great episode, I keep saying…

  • Reply Ellen December 26, 2015 at 1:11 pm

    Great episode! I love Taproot.

  • Reply Martilynn December 26, 2015 at 3:41 pm

    Greetings Woolful – I learned of your podcast at a craft show a few weeks ago while purchasing Lopi fiber from #greenbowfarm. Am really enjoying your archive episodes!

  • Reply Johanna Giesbrecht December 26, 2015 at 9:04 pm

    I have had this episode waiting for me and the web page open ready to read along as I listened since it dropped a few days ago.
    Every time I have opened my web browser I would catch a glimpse of that sweater and it’s simple beauty would stop me just for a moment before I continued on.
    I’ve been hemming and hawing over buying the tap root magazine since the exchange is killing this Canadian girl. But I can’t resist now, I’ve already ordered my issue and I can’t wait to cast on.

  • Reply Annette December 27, 2015 at 6:03 am

    A lovely gift, beautiful magazine!

  • Reply hd December 27, 2015 at 8:06 am

    I really enjoyed this episode and hearing a bit about you! Love taproot and that portland yoke! thanks for the great podcast.

  • Reply Jenny Berman December 27, 2015 at 8:39 am

    Lovely as always to get to hear from the fiber folk you bring us. Thanks always for what you do. Taproot is not known to me but sounds like a fabulous resource.

  • Reply Tina L. December 27, 2015 at 8:42 am

    My favorite gift this holiday is discovering Woolful. Thanks for another insightful podcast. ..fascinating background on Quince and Co. , (just got their knitting pattern book!). Also reminded me of the good people at Finger Lakes Woolen Mill, our local fiber mill. Off to get a copy of Taproot so I can prepare for the KAL!

  • Reply Colleen Davis December 27, 2015 at 11:27 am

    I can’t wait to listen! I received this issue of Taproot for Christmas and I am very in love!

  • Reply Victoria December 27, 2015 at 2:57 pm

    I had never heard of Taproot before your podcast. Would love to get to see every issue for two years though!

  • Reply Vicki Lynch December 27, 2015 at 5:14 pm

    Your episode kept me company while I finished my holiday sewing. The projects are done, and will make it to everyone by New Years for sure. I’m looking forward to checking out Taproot. Good luck with the insulation project. It’s been fun to watch your progress.

  • Reply Isha Kuhns December 27, 2015 at 6:31 pm

    Love Taproot- and my subscription just ended!

  • Reply Karen December 27, 2015 at 6:35 pm

    What a beautiful episode – and what a wonderful magazine. This is like a whole load of treats in one wonderful package! Thanks for the opportunity….

  • Reply Bobbie Wilkerson December 27, 2015 at 6:36 pm

    Loved the podcast as usual :). Good luck with the insulation!

  • Reply becky December 27, 2015 at 8:13 pm

    Thanks for another great episode. I do so enjoy learning about all the fiber folk. Taproot has been in our home since the beginning and I am due to renew soon. It would be lovely to win another two years! Happy Holidays to you and yours!

  • Reply Tamara White December 27, 2015 at 8:29 pm

    Have so much fun stuffing your floors! I’m so excited for you to have wool beneath your feet!

  • Reply lea December 28, 2015 at 1:34 am

    Taproot is such an amazing publication, I’ve been subscribing for two years and loved every single issue and articles so far <3

  • Reply Anna December 28, 2015 at 6:43 am

    Just picked up the recent Taproot a couple weeks ago, and the Portland Pullover is at the top of my queue! Can’t wait for the KAL, that’s perfect timing. 🙂

  • Reply Marilyn December 28, 2015 at 8:23 am

    Ryan made the best choice in occupations!

  • Reply asteride December 28, 2015 at 1:43 pm

    Thank you for presenting Taproot! I didn’t know it existed but now I want to know more.
    Happy New Year to you all.
    asteride on Ravelry

  • Reply Erika December 28, 2015 at 2:39 pm

    Wow! Taproot seems like an amazing yarn. Can’t wait to try it!

  • Reply Chris Willow December 28, 2015 at 2:46 pm

    really enjoyed listening after the bustle of the holidays- thanks and looking forward to more wooly goodness in the new year!

  • Reply Heather White December 28, 2015 at 5:58 pm

    Hi Ashley! Thank you so much for sharing your passion and inspiring listeners like myself to follow their dreams of fiber farming! I am so happy and grateful that I have these wonderful podcast interviews to reference and learn from as I begin planning my future. You’re a treasure!

  • Reply Kristin December 28, 2015 at 10:32 pm

    Would love a subscription, what a lovely giveaway – and of course, another wonderful podcast episode! Cheers, Kristin

  • Reply Steph Nappa December 29, 2015 at 12:18 pm

    This was the first podcast I’ve listened to from your site, as I’ve just discovered you! Taproot magazine looks wonderful, I would definitely love a subscription. If I don’t win I may need to add it to my Christmas wishlist for next year

  • Reply Bente Simone December 29, 2015 at 2:52 pm

    Love to hear the fiber story you’ve picked for us this time.

  • Reply Karate December 29, 2015 at 4:33 pm

    I’m always pleased with the timing and connection of these posts – I’m just about to cast on for Agnes by Melissa LaBarre, which recommends using Q&Co Puffin. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find it locally (WAH!) so I had to make a kind of poor sub. I am pretty jazzed to learn more about Q&Co! Taproot, with the exchange, is a lot, but something I’ve been wanting for a while now. It may just have to be next year’s Christmas present.

  • Reply Juliet December 29, 2015 at 9:41 pm

    I always love to hear more about Quince, they’re the best! Thank you as always for a great listen!

  • Reply Sheree December 30, 2015 at 4:38 am

    I am hopeful my comment makes it into the running to win a subscription to Taproot; but if not, I am happy to just tell you how much I am loving your podcasts. I recently discovered your podcasts and am looking forward to “catching up” on all the episodes. Keep up the great work!

  • Reply Elizabeth December 30, 2015 at 5:49 am

    Looking forward to some quiet time during these busy days to listen to this episode. Thank you for such a wonderful podcast.

  • Reply Natalie December 30, 2015 at 9:36 am

    I would LOVE a subscription to Taproot! As a small business owner that features only handmade goods and encourages crafting of all sorts, I’m SO excited to find out about Taproot. Thank you!

    Ravelry: oystersandpurls

  • Reply Kylie December 30, 2015 at 9:09 pm

    What beautiful colours of Quince and Co. in these photos!
    Happy belated holidays!

  • Reply Kristin December 31, 2015 at 5:44 am

    I can’t wait to listen to this episode. 🙂 And I love Taproot magazine!

  • Reply Marsha December 31, 2015 at 7:48 am

    Taproot looks fascinating, I have not had the pleasure yet. I love your blog and am looking forward to more podcasts.

  • Reply Sharon December 31, 2015 at 3:06 pm

    I love Quince & Co. so I really enjoyed listening to this episode of the podcast. Taproot looks like a very interesting magazine. Happy New Year!

  • Reply Amanda Dittmar December 31, 2015 at 4:53 pm

    This podcast always teaches me something about my favorite passion. I love it so much.

  • Reply Teresa in Texas December 31, 2015 at 5:37 pm

    What a fascinating podcast! I can’t wait to go back into the archives to hear more!

  • Reply Charly January 1, 2016 at 6:14 am

    Great podcast! Thank you for sharing with the world

  • Reply Gwen H January 1, 2016 at 8:46 am

    Love Love Love your podcast – it is my joyous bit of serenity on the drive home after teaching teenagers all day. And I’m so excited that we’ll get to read more about your ranch/life/learning this year! It is inspiring – of creative pursuits, of deeper thoughts on my own life, of wonder, of smiles – to follow your journey. Thank you so much for sharing it with us.

    Also love Taproot magazine – so fingers crossed! 🙂

  • Reply Alethea Montgomery January 1, 2016 at 11:11 am

    I really enjoy every episode. I have not heard of Taproot before, I will have to check it out!Thank you for all of the work that you put into each episode. I have learned so much and shared what I have learned with others (and they aren’t fiber friendly folks!) I chat about my knitting, my American fiber and tell people about the resurgence of American fiber and mills, jobs and AMerican fiber means American sheep which leads to American pastures and protected green spaces. So happy I found you!

  • Reply Fräulein Rucksack January 1, 2016 at 12:01 pm

    Thanks for another Episode!

  • Reply Susan Baughman January 1, 2016 at 12:57 pm

    Just listened to the podcast. Loved hearing about Quince and Co and the changes happening there.. Would love to read Taproot Magazine. Thank you.

  • Reply Kathy January 1, 2016 at 1:04 pm

    Thanks for this interesting episode. The comments about working with a family member resonate.

  • Reply Judy January 1, 2016 at 1:33 pm

    I loved hearing about Ryan’s journey and how he finally made it to Quince. What a lucky break for Pam Allen, having her son being closeby and doing such marvelous work for her and her company. But yes, having been raised in a family business family, I do recognize the ‘tensions’.
    Thanks for another great episode.

  • Reply Carol January 1, 2016 at 3:42 pm

    I loved listening to both Pam and Ryan’s interviews back to back. What a wonderful match-and the result is wonderful yarn and thoughtful, beautiful patterns. I just bought Taproot for a friend of mine and wanted to keep it myself! Thanks for the opportunity!

  • Reply Carolyn January 2, 2016 at 2:10 pm

    I just discovered your podcasts recently and I have really enjoyed. I greatly appreciate your interview style. It has been fun to learn more about the fiber industry through the podcast format. I can knit and listen at the same time. Happy New Year!

  • Reply Micheline Proctor January 2, 2016 at 5:17 pm

    Thank you for another wonderful episode! I hope your many layers of wool keep you well insulated. Happy New Year!

  • Reply Ramona January 2, 2016 at 5:34 pm

    I’m so enjoying your podcast and this episode was no exception. I have some Quince & Co yarn that I have yet to knit up. That’s on my 2016 list to do. I love following along with your adventure. The yurt looks lovely!

  • Reply Chelsea B January 4, 2016 at 1:19 pm

    I was just introduced to Taproot and it’s lovely! I am pretty sure I need to subscribe:)

  • Reply Cindi Brown January 4, 2016 at 8:18 pm

    Is it too late? I would love to spend some time being inspired by Taproot. Happy New Year.

  • Reply Marina Gvozdeva January 5, 2016 at 4:22 pm

    Happy New year! Can’t believe that I’ve missed this episode over x-mas break! But totally love it! Definitely the best pullover is Portland!

  • Reply Andrea January 5, 2016 at 5:21 pm

    I love learning more about my favorite yarns and the people behind them. Taproot mag is one of my favorites!

  • Reply Anna January 6, 2016 at 3:41 am

    Lovely!! Thank you for giving us the chance to win this!!

  • Reply Rachel January 6, 2016 at 5:34 am

    Today is my first day back at work after the holiday break…and I have to say I was looking forward to it simply because I listen to this podcast while working. I saved this episode and didn’t listen while at home, just to have something to look forward to.

  • Reply Bridget January 6, 2016 at 6:29 am

    Lovely podcast! I was wearing my first knitting project while listening, a scarf made from Quince & Co yarn!

  • Reply Morgan January 6, 2016 at 10:41 am

    Can’t wait to listen to this one. I really enjoyed KnitFM and so looking forward to learning more about another part of Quince.

  • Reply Barb Brown January 6, 2016 at 11:44 am

    ❤️ Quince and Company! Thanks for another magical podcast! xx

  • Reply Megan January 6, 2016 at 11:52 am

    I really enjoyed this episode. I love knitting with Quince yarn, and now I want to move to Portland!

  • Reply Oom January 6, 2016 at 11:54 am

    Happy New Year 2016! I have found your blog and been listening to your podcasts since last year but been a bit shy to enter any giveaway as I don’t live in the States. But would Taproot perhaps ship their magazine to Scotland? 😉
    Have a great year ahead!
    Oom from @HandDrawnYarn

  • Reply Patricia January 7, 2016 at 6:54 am

    Best wishes for 2016! I discovered your blog pretty recently through Tif Fussell and have enjoyed listening to many podcasts since. They are so interesting and inspiring! I also loved hearing more about Quince & Co. I have been working on a pattern of theirs with the Sparrow linen yarn and can’t wait to (one day) finish it. Also as a long-time reader of Soulemama, a subscription to Taproot would be the bees knees (if they’ll ship to the Netherlands that is)!! Thanks so much for sharing and inspiring!

  • Reply Karen Mullen January 29, 2016 at 7:20 am

    Love listening to your podcasts. It was neat to hear about all the ways people get involved with wool, be it the fiber or the number crunching 🙂 I am also happy to hear that you are in your yurt and in the process of putting more wool insulation in! I loved the podcast about that insulation as well. Taproot magazine sounds so interesting.

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