Let’s Hear It For Summer!

It’s finally summer here! School ended yesterday and there were shouts of joy! There was also a shout of pain as I threw my back out on Monday night. That’s what I get for cleaning out a bunny cage. I was hunched over the top of it and when I stood up, my back just went out. It wouldn’t have been so bad except for the fact that the girls had a pool party the next day and I could barely walk. Thankfully the kids all pitched in and we had ourselves a fun end of year party. The only casualty was the swan who suffered a broken wing. We’ll have to figure out if we can patch it or not.

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I did feel like I could try standing at the long arm machine this morning but I was only able to stand there for about 10 minutes. It was too much so I switched to a sit down sewing job. I worked on the orange peel quilt instead.

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My assistant was busy this week organizing my fabric stash. Everything is neatly folded and arranged by color. It’s a great job to have someone else do except for the fact that I don’t get to reacquaint myself with older fabric as I fold. I’m sure it will need doing again before long and I can pet all the fabric myself.

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It’s a quiet week without much to report on the quilting front. Too many things happening with the wrap up of school and the upcoming music show this weekend!

Don’t forget the summer quilt patterns are on sale my Craftsy shop.

Sandi

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Summer Pattern Sale!

Three of my favorite summer patterns will be half price on Craftsy all summer long! You can find these three patterns for $5.25 each HERE.

Nautical Table Runner QCP-304

Seaglass QCP-109

Third Seasonal Trio QCP-103

So come and get your summer patterns while the weather is hot and the sewing room is hopefully cool!

This week I’m still plugging along on quilting the love notes quilt for Lindsey. I am enjoying ruler work for the lines on the  inner border and the center block flower motif. The outer border is getting a stipple treatment. The corners of the love notes are getting a free motion back and forth squiggle. How’s that for a technical term?

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I have this much left to do…
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This is taking time but as I mentioned, I’m ok with that because I like the results. The rulers are fun to work with and I’m discovering more things I can do with the ones I own. It’s also the first time I’m floating a quilt top which simply means the top is not attached to a roller. I’m using the painter’s tape that you see in the photo as a guide on each end of the pole. I know my quilt top must line up with the tape or it will be quilted crooked. It’s good to keep learning and using easier ways to quilt.

Have a super weekend, everybody!

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Applique: Finding A Method

If you’ve been following this blog over the last few weeks, you know I’ve been searching for a method of applique that I can live with! Fusible aside, I’m looking for a good technique for making prepared appliques that are turned under and then basted to the background – so not needle turn. My heart will always belong to fusible but I’m ready to branch out and learn something new.

I’ve tried a few methods now and the first one was with the back-basting method from the book pictured here alongside some other items:
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I decided I didn’t care for this technique for one main reason. The basting is done on the back side which means you have to sort of keep peeking at the front and hoping that you covered the required amount of space with your fabric. It’s also needle turn. The template is traced onto the back side and you stitch around that catching the fabric on the top. The idea was good but the practice was a bit hard. So, it’s out for now.

The second was with freezer paper templates in the style of Jill Finley of Jillily Studio
I love her! She’s very funny and makes it look really easy. Jill recommends layering four pieces of freezer paper together when you make the templates. Starch and an iron are used to turn the fabric over the templates. Roxanne’s Glue Baste It is used to adhere the applique piece to the background. It’s not a bad method but the starch gets the template a bit soggy. The iron gets very hot and even with a tailor’s awl, it’s hard to maneuver the pieces for a smooth edge.

Karen Kay Buckley has a similar method but she uses sizing instead of starch and her templates are made of hard plastic. “Perfect” is her catch phrase and let’s face it, that’s a lot of pressure right there. I do like her thread bag which holds a lot of thread and you don’t even have to take it out to use it. You can thread it right through a strip of micro suede that is on the bag. I have to get one of these! They are $35 for the bag but if you want it full of thread, it can be yours for the low price of $190! LOL!

The next method I investigated was Jeanne Sullivan’s from this book:
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Her method is two layers of freezer paper and the iron and starch routine. I have begun this project from the book…
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I like her patterns and how thorough the instructions are but I’m not loving freezer paper.

Next up was the uber popular Apliquick Method from Rosa Rojas. I learned about this method and the tools from The Quilt Show. Rosa and her business partner live in Spain and they have come up with a great method that does not use freezer paper or starch. Instead a water soluble applique paper is used as the template and it stays in the quilt. A glue pen and some steel rods with different points on each end are used to fold the fabric over the template. There is no iron involved. There are two rods and one point is like a little fork, another is bevelled, and the other two are different sized points. The rods are a steep $40 so I am still using my awl and a curved pair of small scissors to fold the edges over. I ended up ordering this brand of water soluble applique paper because Amazon carried it and I could have it in my hands in two days with Prime! No judging, please. LOL!IMG_5050

 

 

 

 

 

 

I didn’t order a glue pen either because I have a glue stick. Hindsight is 20/20 and I should have ordered a glue pen. The stick is ok but it’s messy and frays the fabric edge a bit. Next time I’m on Amazon, I’ll order one. IMG_5051

 

 

 

 

 

 

This method is so much better than the others I’ve tried. I’m looking forward to the project now and I think I’ve got my ducks in a row. I love how crisp the applique edges are and that the applique paper goes right through the ink jet printer. No tracing! IMG_5052

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How do you applique? What is your favorite method?

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Projects And An Assistant

It’s been a good week of learning new things. I bought a new applique book by Jeanne Sullivan.
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It has a lot of information in it and many beautiful patterns. I’m struggling to find the method of applique I like the best. I can tell this is going to take some time to get right but I feel like I’m on a good path. Next week on the blog I’ll talk more about the methods I’ve been trying.

At Leah’s dance recital I had time backstage during the first of two shows to work on a project. I brought this ice cream applique with me and I was able to finish it. The pieces were glued down so all I had to do was stitch them to the background.
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When my mother saw it, she really liked it and we decided it should be hers to finish as a pillow for a gift. This is the pattern I had drafted in EQ7 and she’ll finish it with this cute border.

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From the book above, I’ve decided to go with this project…IMG_4989

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s the simplest one in the book which works for me! LOL!!! So far I’ve made the heart…IMG_4990

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I made definite progress on Lindsey’s Love Notes quilt. The borders are on and the quilt is on the long arm!

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And today I began quilting it. I can’t tell you how much I am enjoying this! It’s THAT much!! I love texture and this is so exciting to me.

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The best part of the week was when I decided to hire an assistant to help out with errands, cleaning, and social media for my two businesses. I hired the most adorable college girl named Amanda…does she look familiar? IMG_5014

 

 

 

 

 

 

Amanda (my daughter) is in need of a summer job and I’m in need of a reliable helper. We made a great team this week and I feel less stressed as does she. Finding a summer job when you’re not around for a good chunk of August is a little tough. This is a great arrangement for both of us and now I think I’m not going to want her to go back to UNH at all! LOL!!! I’m getting so much done and my house is clean for students and social media posts are scheduled…ahhhhh. Feels so good.

Enjoy the weekend everybody!

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For long arm quilting service information, please visit my website www.quiltcabanapatterns.com

For Creative Memories scrapbooking supplies, please visit my website https://www.creativememories.com/user/sandic

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Business Book Club -The Magnolia Story

A few months ago I joined the International Association of Creative Arts Professionals and a benefit of being a member is that I get to participate in a monthly book club featuring business books. I’ve only been a member long enough to read two books and last week, the book club discussion was on The Magnolia Story which is the story of Chip and Joanna Gaines from HGTV’s uber popular show, Fixer Upper.

I’ve been an and off again fan of the show for a few years. I really think I’m mostly just a Chip and Joanna fan. I have long loved the playful way they interact with each other while flipping homes around Waco, Texas. If you’ve never watched the show before, it’s quite addictive. Together they help a couple find the home of their dreams which in the beginning of each show looks like a horrible choice! They strive to find the worst house in the best area of town and then through Chip’s carpentry skills and Joanna’s unparallelled design skills, they flip the house, within budget, into a dream home.  All the while, Chip and Joanna tease each other and make you want to be their best friends!

The book takes you through the early years of their relationship when they first start dating up to the current situation where they have landed this show and it’s crazily popular and their farm  is pretty much now a tourist destination. I was enamored with their story but I struggled at first to make connections as to how this was a good business book. While I was interested in their love story and how they got married and have four children, I was really trying to find the meat of their success story.

It was actually in hindsight that it came together for me. Family is the focal point of every decision this couple makes including business decisions. As I mentioned, they have four young children and have made the decision not to travel and to only work in the Waco area. When their real estate and design business took off, it was word of mouth in the Waco area that kept them making money. People saw how Joanna decorated her small store and soon they asked if she could help them with their home decor. The design side grew and grew with Joanna really learning as she went along. She didn’t have any type of degree in design. She had previously worked in her dad’s Firestone tire store.

Chip was a risk taker from day one. As a young man he had an entrepreneurial spirit buying up small homes around Baylor University. He would fix those up and rent them out to college students. Joanna would help him get the home looking nice and then sadly for her, Chip would rent it or sell it and then buy up another one! Sad for Joanna because she got attached to the homes and thought she might like to live in them for awhile. This wasn’t Chip’s style and she knew she had to go with the flow because that was how they managed to stay afloat of their bills. They just barely stayed ahead and sometimes not so much. In the end, the risk taking paid off but it was scary for them.

The underlying theme in the book was consistent effort and hard work all balanced by love of family. They had a strong support system and a team of employees who liked helping them because they were good, honest people. Millions of people enjoy watching the show because this theme carries through. There’s nothing fake about them.

I think it ended up being a great business book that reinforces balance, hard work, risk taking, and consistency. You have to show up and do the work to the best of your ability and keep learning your craft. Integrity and craftsmanship matter.

Do you watch this great show? What are your thoughts? Have you read the book?

You can find the book on Amazon at the link below. It is an affiliate link.

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Love Notes and Applique Wannabe

I find myself obsessing lately about applique methods. I haven’t done much traditional applique as I’ve been a huge fan of fusible applique since I began quilting in 2004. Thanks to quilt stars like Karen Kay Buckley and Jill Finley, I am now obsessed with learning how to do it correctly and efficiently. I purchased some supplies, of course. I bought freezer paper, a tailor’s awl, Roxanne’s Baste It Glue, thimble dots, and starch.

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I decided to follow Jill Finley’s applique method with stacking four pieces of freezer paper together to make the pattern templates. That seemed to work out ok except that I got the templates too wet with starch when I was brushing the starch on the seam allowance. I dried it out with the iron but I think the templates still bent a bit. I thought it would be good to have an applique project with me tomorrow at Leah’s dance recital. I’ll be backstage for hours and having a hand project sounded good. The other 28,000 hand projects I have started  would also have been good. None the less, I made an ice cream cone pattern on EQ7 and prepared the pieces for applique.

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I wish I had made the pieces larger but this will have to do.

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All the pieces are glue basted to the background and ready for stitching.

This week I got the white borders on Lindsey’s Love Notes quilt. Today I got one outer border on as well.

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Next week I’m going to be marking this for the long arm. I just purchased a six pack of blue washout pens. I’ll be ready to mark it up in Judi Madsen fashion and do some custom quilting in all that negative space.

But tomorrow is Leah’s dance recital and that is what I’ll be focused on. I had posted lots of pictures from dress rehearsal on Instagram and Facebook but here are my favorites. This is the debut of Leah’s pointe class on stage. They are dancing to Phantom Of The Opera and it’s really amazing.

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What are you all working on this week? I’d love to hear about it. I’ll be posting a podcast episode hopefully the week after next so stay tuned for that. Feel free to ask me questions and I’ll answer them on the podcast.

Sandi

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NYC and a Long Arm Finish

It’s been a few days since I blogged but I have a good excuse. Leah and I took a trip to NYC with her dance studio. We had a fabulous time traveling with friends and seeing the sights. This is the second time we’ve done a weekend in NYC with this group and we all travel really well together! We arrived in Times Square on Friday afternoon and we shopped a bit, had dinner at Guy Fieri’s restaurant, and then we saw Get On Your Feet which is the broadway show of Gloria and Emilio Estefan’s story. It was amazing! It was at the Marquis Theatre which is just beautiful.

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Saturday the girls attended a workshop with a cast member from Get On Your Feet then we shopped til we dropped. We had dinner at Ellen’s Stardust Cafe and then we pretty much fell asleep. While we were walking around we came upon the ballerina balloon that is currently displayed at Rockefeller Center. We knew it was there, we just didn’t know it was so huge and amazing.

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Sunday morning the girls had another workshop at the same dance studio. We picked them up and headed to the 9-11 Memorial before heading home. It was a strange experience being there with so many kids who weren’t even born when that tragedy occurred. I think they all appreciated seeing it. I was in awe of this national quilt that was hanging on display. Every victim has a block. It’s very large and evokes all kind of emotions when you see it.
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We got home late Sunday night but it was worth it! It was a great weekend.

Last week before I left, I finished the quilting on the Hawaiian flower quilt. I used a hibiscus pantograph and I love how it came out. So now it needs binding.
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Yesterday I spent time getting these Love Notes blocks sewn into rows. If I have time today, I’ll stitch rows together. This one is for Lindsey.
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For Mother’s Day, I ordered Judi Madsen’s new dvd on background quilting for applique quilts. She has so much information in her dvd’s. I just love them. I’m a little more than half way through as it’s pretty long – 158 minutes. Hoping to catch the rest of it tomorrow morning.

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That’s about it for today. What are you all working on?
Sandi

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Long Arm, Site Update & Give Away Winner

Happy Friday and congratulations to Margaret M. who was the winner of my 100 Blocks Blog Tour stop! Margaret has won a copy of 100 Blocks Volume 15!

The sun is shining today which seems like a giant prize for the cruddy weather week we’ve had around here. It has been conducive to quilting which is nice! I was able to get the borders on the Hawaiian flower quilt. I have it loaded on the long arm and ready to be quilted with a hibiscus pantograph and one of these pretty threads!

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So many pretty ones to choose from!

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Yesterday my Red Snappers came in the mail. They are a Mother’s Day gift from my mom! For those of you who are unaware of what these are, they are a quilt loading system for the long arm machine which eliminates having to pin the quilt layers to the leaders. The snapper clamps hold the quilt tight where it should be. That being said, I installed them yesterday and this Hawaiian quilt will be the guinea pig for using them. I’m pretty sure it took me longer than pinning just out of ignorance today though! Wish me luck! It typically takes me about 45 minutes to an hour to load a quilt so cutting that time will be a big help.

I spent the week trying out pantographs to see how I like them. I also practiced a bit of custom work.

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I also updated my Quilt Cabana Patterns website this week. It was in need of a facelift and boy did it get one! I added a menu tab called Long Arm Service which has information about how I can help you get your quilt tops quilted! Pricing and design information is all there and I’d love to help you get those tops done!

Last week I had a such a fun day teaching fusible applique to Nancy and Priscilla! It was by far the best morning of the week! Nancy and Priscilla learned how to make the Sail Away Mug Rug using paper backed fusible web and the blanket stitch technique for finishing the applique. They are fast learners and I can’t wait to see how they finished their projects up. Here are my ladies hard at work! If you’d like to learn this technique, contact me at colwellsg@comcast.net.

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That’s all for today! Be sure to check out the newly updated website!
Sandi

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Welcome To 100 Blocks!

Hey Everyone!!!

I’m so glad you are here and welcome to my blog stop for 100 Blocks Volume 15!

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My block is #1401 and it is called Bunny Love! I made this block using a fusible applique technique. I LOVE fusible applique! It’s so easy and fun.
Here is the block…

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Do you ever wonder where people get their inspiration from when they are designing a block or a quilt? I wonder all the time but for me, the inspiration came from our two adorable Lionhead bunnies. Meet Nala and Daisy…

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These two cuties bring sunshine into our lives every day. I never thought I’d be a bunny person until they came home from the 4H Fair with us. We brought Nala home two years ago (she’s on the left) and Daisy, one year ago. Daisy is actually partially blind but she gets around our living room just fine. We had never seen bunnies that looked like this before and right away, they stole our hearts.

When I was thinking about a design to submit, the bunnies came right to mind. Here are a few pictures of the process I use when creating a block.
First I like to sort through my stash and figure out which colors will go best for my design…

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I use paper backed fusible web to trace the pattern and then fuse it to my fabrics…

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I arrange the fabric pieces in a way I find pleasing and then I fuse them to the background…

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A favorite way of mine to secure the edges of the applique to the background is to use the blanket stitch. I adore the blanket stitch!!

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I hope you’ll get a chance to make this block! It’s a fun one and would be great as a pillow, tote, or kid’s quilt!

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I have a copy of QuiltMaker’s 100 Blocks to give away to one lucky winner. I’ll choose a name randomly from the comment section once the blog tour is over. Just tell me your favorite method of applique and if you’d like to, please follow me on Facebook or Instagram. My Instagram is @quiltcabana.
The link to my facebook business page is:
https://www.facebook.com/Quilt-Cabana-Patterns

Enjoy the blog tour and thanks so much for stopping by! Don’t forget to check out my Craftsy store for more fun patterns including my newest one, Seaglass.

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Sandi

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Fillers, Favorite Rulers and a Selfie

I’ve happily spent the last two days working on quilting the blue monochromatic quilt. I had to laugh at myself that I finally got the long arm machine extended by two feet and then I put a super small quilt on it! LOL! One of the reasons I made this quilt was to practice ruler work and fillers. The other two reasons were to play with color and to figure out improv piecing.

Because this piece is small, the quilting also had to be small. I had a few doubts as to whether my machine could handle going as slowly as I needed it to. That might sound weird because typically you see long arm quilters buzzing around at a decent pace. But when the mission is accuracy and you are using rulers, you have to go slow. The slower I went on the machine, the happier I was with the results and I’m thrilled to pieces that my long arm can work well in a slower speed.

Using Cindy Grisdela’s improv style and Judi Madsen’s methods of marking and quilting, I was able to tap into techniques I haven’t done before. I keep wanting to call this quilt Small Blue for some reason so that shall be its name and here she is…

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Each pieced curve has a different style of filler quilting. I used several designs including wishbones, geometric squares, pebbles, meandering, half moons,  paisleys, swirls, and continuous line curved squares. The top and bottom borders have curved lines.

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In deciding whether to use the continuous line curved squares on that last bottom strip, I knew I had to go very small. I marked a half inch grid and then set about quilting in between the lines. It was exhilarating to quilt! Each row was inspiration to keep going.

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My favorite rulers so far in this long arm journey have been the ones you see here in the picture. The A1 Straight Edge which is yellow and has the
handle on it and the set of Mini Curve It rulers. Both of these were ordered from Judi Madsen’s website, Green Fairy Quilts.

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While I was quilting, I knew my face was holding a very serious and focused expression. I started to wonder if I might be one of those people who sticks their tongue out or something while they work lol!!! Curiosity got the better of me and I set my phone up on a timer for a selfie. No tongue is wagging so I guess I’m good!!!

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The black straps on my shoulders are the straps for my back weight. I try to use it when I’m long arming or piecing for a long time at the sewing machine.

If you listened to the last podcast episode, you’ll remember I mentioned having joined the International Association of Creative Arts Professionals led by Morna McEver Golletz. One of the benefits of belonging to this organization is being in contact with like minded individuals in the craft business world. This week I started up with an accountability partner. Her name is Janice. After an initial phone call where we got to know each other and get a feel for each other’s businesses, we set up our weekly goals and plans for how to achieve them. We will talk again on Monday night to check in and share how we did on meeting those goals. I have four areas to work on this week and I’m feeling pretty good about them. One of my goals includes getting 10 hours on the long arm and I’m halfway there. Getting time on the machine gets a little bit difficult on teaching days but I will have to work around that to get to ten hours. I find myself thinking about Janice all week and wondering how she is coming along with her goals. Hopefully we’ll both hit the mark this week!

Have a super day today!
Sandi

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