Freedom of Movement

Minor medical update, non-crafting information in between the *’s

*I have my second cast, this means that I am 1/4 of the way done with wearing a cast! The unnerving tingling that I was feeling, in the form of hot spots going up and down my arm, is apparently my nerves healing. My new cast is slightly shorter, slightly lighter, and firmer around my wrist. This actually means that I have a much greater range of motion than I did with the other cast. Often when I tried to move my fingers, whether to exercise or stretch them, or to accomplish a task, I would get a jabbing pain where I have a pin in my wrist. With the firmer cast, I no longer get that pain, huzzah!*

My new cast went on Thursday and by Friday I was crafting up a storm! I finally managed to finish weaving the bamboo scarf I dyed with the Enchanted Mountain Weaver’s Guild last summer. At the time of posting this I have washed the scarf and I am diligently working on the fringe twisting, as my wrist allows.

Beaded scarf in reds, greens and yellows with a bit of blue. Draped over a 4 harness table loom.

I love how this has turned out, however the red bled quite a bit, I seem to remember a warning about that. I have also been knitting on my worsted weight socks in Cascade 220 Superwash White. I hope to dye these when I am done. I have the first finished and the cuff on the second completed. With all of this going on, I also decided to bring up my personal larger table loom that has had towels warped up for a couple of years. It is my main goal to finish these towels before I am back to work at my colleges (or in a full-time job).

4 harness table loom warped with pastel yarn, yellow plastic boat shuttle with blue cotton resting on top. Completed wool sock to the right of the shuttle, with the knitted cuff to the left of the completed sock and below the shuttle. On the table is a Leclerc fringe twister with the bamboo scarf to the left.

All of this crafting energy has me jazzed. I managed to attend Vogue Knitting’s Virtual event in July, learning quite a bit from the lectures I attended. I have signed up for the marketplace and extras for the August Virtual event. I had hoped to sign up for classes, however with my wrist it is not realistic that I can knit enough to justify the financial outlay. (Just about $100 for 3 classes and tons of extras, if I could knit normally this would be a really inexpensive way to take expensive classes).

Fortunately I have had some visitors to my back yard to cheer me up (this is not a euphemism).

Hopefully you are as inspired as I am. Until next time, keep crafting and Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

All the Crafts

This has been a learning experience for me.  I have put up a fence around my well cap, it is right beside my driveway and but trucks tend to run over it.  I put up the remaining two fence pieces by my driveway so that my garbage cans cannot easily fall into the ditch.  I warped and started weaving on my rug loom in the detached garage.  I can shoot crafting videos, okay so I’m still improving on that.  I also discovered that I can spin if I hold my fiber very loosely in my bad hand, to do this I am  using my electric wheel because I tend to tightly grasp fiber in my left hand when using my regular wheel.  Knitting is something that can happen (on larger needles) because I only need to hold the needle still in my left hand.  (Crochet is not going to happen because I pinch my project in my left hand while crocheting to keep it still, that still hurts)  Socks still are not going to happen, however I can use size 4 needles.

 

I finished two plying projects, the one on the left is the Shetland Moorit I started spinning last year for the Spin Off Hap-Along.  The project on the right is when I took a couple of lace weight yarns that I plied together to create about a fingering weight yarn.  I do not think that this will actually be a fingering weight yarn, however I think it will be a wonderful project eventually.

I was able to swatch for a mitered square blanket I bought a couple of  years ago, when a knitted afghan project is under $35 it is hard to resist.  I’ve also progressed to knitting a worsted weight shawl out of the Hedgehog Fibres Potluck in a really pretty orange.  I crowd sourced whether I should add on some black or just be done, it was decided that I do not need to add on black.

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Finally I wound up lightly felting my 7′ shawl from my tri loom.  I took a photo before it came off of the loom, I will have a felting photo in another post.

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It has been very busy here.  One of my supervisors is talking about starting procedures for opening back up, presuming that we will be doing this in Mid May.

Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract, and if you are an introvert check on your extroverts!  Be safe!

Progress and Change

This has been a really strange week. I have spent most of it thinking that I have not gotten a single thing done.  However, when I looked back  I have made a lot of progress on many different projects.  In the way of domestic chores, I have come to the realization that cooking for myself is just creating more dishes for me to deal with and I am not eating any healthier.  To combat this, I have started opening a can of green beans or carrots, heating them up, and using that as a snack.  I have also purchased some frozen food that I just need to throw in the oven and that will be food for at least a day if not more.  I also purchased salad mix, we will have to see what a difference these steps make in my overall eating/time spent cleaning up.  I managed to get the black plastic on my front bed, I’ve been meaning to do that for three years, but I think I mentioned that in my last post.

I live far enough out that I have a well, the heavy cement well cap is right beside my driveway.  This means that when big trucks come up my driveway, fedex, ups, oil delivery, repair trucks, they tend to run over that cap often knocking it askew.  To combat this I purchased 4 pieces of fencing that arrived a few days ago.  I promptly went out and managed to get them temporarily installed around the well cap.  I will use a rubber mallet to completely install them when it stops snowing.  Since I only needed 2 I will be using the other 2 to create a barrier between my garbage cans and the ditch so I don’t have to retrieve the cans from the ditch on garbage day.

The final home repair I have done is a patch job on a wall in the master bathroom.  Half of a toilet paper roll holder that was installed somehow got ripped out of the wall leaving a hole.  I honestly cannot remember how, it’s been years.  I purchased a repair kit a while back, but like many things, never found the time to fix it.  On to Crafty Stuff!

For my public library job I created a video on how to finger knitting for Monday April 13th.  This past Monday I created a video on how to weave on cardboard looms, the video turned out pretty well however the process was a mess of cable repairmen, upload times, and time restrictions on unverified Youtube accounts…I’m not dwelling on that.  I shot the video on finger knitting, have been requested to create an introduction with my face, and will edit and upload the results on Monday.  Until then, here is some finger knitting:

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This is Madelinetosh Home in Danger Will Robinson colorway.  The bulky yarn shows the stitches pretty well, I used  a worsted during the video this will be my intro piece.

I’m trying to organize my stash, during that process I found a shawl I was working on.   It’s a very simple shawl, however it is knitted with my handspun yarn on very large needles.  I’ve discovered that I can hold these without any real pain, so I am working on that.

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Finally we have my shawl.  As you could see last week, the weave seemed pretty loose.  I spent some time adjusting the yarns so that the structure would be tighter.  The results were interesting, I posted them on Instagram and was advised to felt the piece to keep the structure how it was.  I decided to stabilize the edges and some of the structures by weaving around them, the results are here:

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I am still not certain how well I like it, however I will finish with the edges and give it a wash. I already have two bulky yarns tied together so that I can try another tri-loom shawl once I have the loom cleared.

This is about it for me for the week (not including work stuff, I’m still doing academic library stuff for my other two libraries).  I hope that you live life A Little More Abstract, and if you are an introvert please check on your extroverts!

Crafting Through These Times

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During these times I’m still working from home, it is going pretty well actually.  I am also doing some cleaning, not as much as I should, and some crafting.  For my public library I managed to create a video that uses some simple tools and cardboard to create art-ish.  The above is my creation.  I also did some work on washing wool.  I soaked some wool in cold water to get the basic dirt out:

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You can see, it helped a bit but there is still some major dirt and lanolin.  I washed a batch by scrubbing each individual lock across a bar of soap.  These results were amazingly clean, however very labor intensive:

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Then I took one batch and used hot water and unicorn simply clean to soak for ten minutes:

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This worked really well, I did not rinse this batch out just soaked and let dry so that I could use them as an example in the video I’m making.  For the rest of the picked locks I used hot water and unicorn to soak twice and then rinsed with just water a third time.  These results were wonderful, I just adore how well this works.

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You can see the amazing difference, how crisply clean and white all of the fleece is.  This is some Coopworth Yearling fiber, it started out as 8 ounces.  I picked out the washed locks and put them in a plastic bag after it had thoroughly dried.  I am so excited to be able to spin this fleece, however it is going to be some time.

I also used a large potholder loom I bought from Harrisville to make two separate potholders that were beautiful.  I’m looking at buying some more loopers for the larger loom, however they are a bit pricey.

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I’m also doing some work on my 7′ tri-loom.  I’m trying to do some cut string weaving as opposed to continuous string weaving.  Right now I think that there are too many gaps between the threads, so I am planning on trying to add extra yarn in between several of these picks.  Some of them I doubled up in one section, because of this I should be able to add a thread in between these doubled up to tighten things up.  In this flash I love how rainbow this looks, neat!

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Where There is a Will

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I adore my mirrix weaving loom.  Due to my earlier sampling efforts with handspun yarn my mirrix tapestry loom was already warped and ready to go.  I created a line to keep my weft from slipping too far down my warp, and started weaving away.  My first few picks were created using a paperclip and my weft yarn, then I went looking for tapestry bobbins.  Unfortunately for me, and my budget, tapestry bobbins are about $20 for three wooden ones.  Balancing my desire to not purchase any more plastic than absolutely essential, and my want for several bobbins to create my multi-colored tapestry, I was concerned that my budget was going to go out the window.  One persistent search later and I discovered that some enterprising individuals discovered that they can use 4-inch golf tees as tapestry bobbins.  They work well, I have to be careful because the weft can slip off of the point creating a bit of a tangle.  It is with great shock that I discovered passing these bobbins back and forth under the warps does not seem to bother my wrist at all.  I firmly believe that this is due to the amazing shedding device on the mirrix.

The other major crafting that I am doing this week involves needle felting.  I have to admit I adore stabbing something a few hundred times with a piece of art or other useful object as a result.  IMG_2777

With less than an hour’s work I managed to create these two pouches, I believe that they will be useful for small objects such as tapestry bobbins on the go.  I will be teaching two needle felting classes in the next two weeks, one will involve creating coasters while the other focuses on sculptures.   I am really looking forward to both of these classes, I also hope to incorporate a very small amount of the slow fashion/slow cloth movement by mentioning that you can create your own decorative patches for repairing clothing using needle felting.

Have a great week and remember to Live Life A Little More Abstract.

Fibershed by Rebecca Burgess

I received this book from my Uncle Jimmy and Aunt Kathleen for Christmas in 2019, Thank You. This post is going to go into a lot of biology, environmental concerns, and more serious topics.  If this is not for you, my organization story will continue next week.

As a bit of my background relating to this book, my thesis to receive my bachelors degree in sociology surrounded the relationship between early menarche and hormones being fed to the animals that we, as Americans, derive our meat from.  Essentially I looked at the research tying children getting their first period as early as 5 years old and the hormones being pumped into the cows and chickens from which we get milk, eggs, and meat.  Hormones, and antibiotics really, that are not flushed out in any way before being fed to ourselves and our children.  Though I do not have that paper, there was certainly a correlation.  In the past decade or so I have all but forgotten that paper that managed to land me my bachelors degree, which I only needed so that I could get a my Masters in Library Studies.  To be frank, it is not financially viable for me to live an organic life.  This does not mean that these concerns should not be addressed, even if sweeping changes are not realistic.  My reading of FiberShed is not replacing the knowledge I gained from my thesis, but building on it in ways that I had not considered.  This is going to be a quick review designed to encourage you to read this book and others like it.  This review in no way replaces the joy, and extensive knowledge gained, by reading this book.

Synthetic fibers are derived from petroleum products, or have gone through chemical laden processes to be created and turned into clothing.  When these processes are occurring many safety precautions have to be taken to ensure the health of the workers, then the run-off has to be carefully disposed of so as to not contaminate the local drinking water.  The fact that all too often both of these steps are not taken seriously causes great ecological problems.  We are wearing these products on our skin, the largest, permeable organ on our body.  How many of these chemicals are we absorbing?  This book tackles these problems on both a local and global scale from a crafting point of view.  We as crafters can take charge of the yarns we buy, the fiber we spin, and the clothing we create.  This book goes from fiber, dyes, and encompasses all of the processes in between.  Exploring every aspect of fabric creation from where the cotton is grown, and from what kind of seed, to the sheep, processing the materials, dyeing the materials (naturally, of course), weaving/knitting these materials, even recycling them.  There is an amazing wealth of information, including how the methods of agriculture detailed will be profitable for not only the environment but the farmers and consumers also.  All of this information is interspersed with personal tales from herself as well as her friends and companions along this journey.

For a fascinating, if terrifying, look at our fast fashion culture check out this book.  Inside we are also taken through a journey of some steps that we might take to regain our chemical independence, as well as the steps that some conglomerates are taking to help our ecology, economy, and general sustainability.  Since this book comes at this from a crafting perspective there is some lamenting, but there are many more solutions.  Fantastic Read.

Remember to Live Life A Little More Abstract!

November Already

I cannot believe that November is here already, two more full weeks and it will be Thanksgiving week!  This year has both dragged and flown by.  This past week I received my November Paradise Fibers Box, the fibers look neat but the patterns for knitted ornaments are what has really caught my eye.

I received the more subdued colors of fiber, the white was what everyone received, my second color was a light pink rather than bright pinks and purples.  I enjoy the colors, especially since I have enough brighter fibers to use as pops of color for the ornaments.  I almost repurposed the spinning I was doing to be used as embroidery thread, however I decided to stick to my original plan.  I do still believe that I will use any left-over yarns as crewel embroidery rather than scrap projects (if they are not big enough to knit into hexipuffs).

Speaking of things that I learned from EGLFC I have decided to use the highly textured yarns that I created that weekend as a sort of commemorative scarf.  I managed to get my Ashford Sample It Loom threaded and tensioned using a 7.5dent heddle.

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I love how it is turning out, however this is going to be the very definition of ‘Slow Cloth’ Weaving.  Each time I open a new shed the yarns stick, since the textured yarns are in the slots they do not like to move up and down or separate from their neighbors.  Keeping the actual locks to the top, without interfering with the addition of new horizontal picks, and so many more problems.  The fascinating part of this is, I do not mind the problems at all.  Yes, I am not really happy that one of my warp threads had to be tied back together when it snapped, I’m a bit worried about advancing the warp and how much trouble beating is going to be (I think I’m going to use a fork or tapestry beater at times), however I believe that I am going to enjoy taking my time and letting this scarf become what it wants to be.  IMG_3095

There are several other projects going on in my life right now.  I am working on upping my bullet journaling game, not only because of the class at the end of the month, but because I am trying to be more organized.  As I hinted earlier I finished a small braid that I am going to use for embroidery thread, it was a sample from my Holi Spinning box earlier this year.  At present I am pulling off lengths, allowing them to ply back on themselves and tying them into bundles to be steamed when I have time.

For other projects, my handyman has finally gotten around to putting up the paneling in my ‘studio’, of course since it has snowed already I had to purchase a small heater that claims it will heat up a room twice as big as the one I am using.  Finger’s crossed, I hope so because I had to lay out a few home truths to him about the nature of working on a part time basis for a community college and private university, specifically that from my last paycheck in the middle of December I will not get another from those two until February.  Fortunately I have enough crafting supplies stocked up, and just enough pay coming to me in the next six weeks, that I should be able to handle all of the major bills for January relying on my public library pay for food and gas.

I am not certain about the holidays at present, there are some good sales on Turkeys and Hams, so I believe I will stock up a bit on major protein sources.  Life goes on and I am luckier than most.

For crafting, I also picked up the Charollais I received as a part of Holi, I was fascinated by the lock structure and hoped to use it as some texture in a new yarn.  When I picked it up, it felt a touch tacky.  Thinking that a bit of lanolin was left in the locks, I immersed it in some very hot tap water, that immediately turned brown.  I had been harboring unwashed wool!  There is nothing inherently wrong with unwashed wool, if you know it is there so you can keep an eye on it or make sure it is away from the rest of your stash.  Unwashed wool is what attracts Wool Moths and Mice, neither of which I want in my stash.  I gave this wool three really good rinses and hopefully this will be enough, it is almost half way dry as of this morning.

Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

I Hate Colds

*Little to no Crafting Content in this Post*

So when I had Influenza this past spring it was three days, 2 of fever, one recovery, then I’m almost back to normal.  This blasted cold however is still going quite strong 8 days in, I actually had the pleasure of waking up with a bloody nose since I must have blown a blood vessel trying to keep this cold from turning into an infection.  So yesterday was my first day off in over 10 days, and I really just planned on sleeping.  There are things I needed to do in my house, I really hate that my garbage has to be out Sunday night for Monday Morning Pickup, but since I got most of that sorted out yesterday I should be good.  I simply have to put the garbage into the cans, it is already downstairs, and haul the cans to the end of the driveway.  Then tomorrow morning before I leave for work, pick up what the crows and vermin have managed to scatter out of the can.  Between running a few loads of laundry and getting the dishwasher loaded and run I managed to catch up on rest for the day, if not actual sleep.  I had hoped to go through with the 30 books in 30 days challenge, however we are almost to the middle of the month and I have read/listened to about 2 books.  There is the possibility that if I were to listen to audiobooks every free moment of the day I could finish the challenge strong, since that isn’t going to happen I will have to resign myself to not meeting that challenge.

I did manage to complete another row on the sleeves of my sweater, this means that I have 7 of the 14 rows I need to do before the 2 rows of single crochet.  It looks like I am lucky I decided to just have 16 rows total on the sleeves, my yarn is getting a bit short.

I hope to get more knitting done on my poncho from Jimmy Beans Wool, really I just need to buckle down and work on it.  I haven’t even gotten through the first month of the knit poncho or the crochet shawl and I received the third months kit in the mail yesterday.  I do realize that a good deal of my problem revolves around my need to start new projects all the time, my lack of free time, and the simple fact that I come home tired, eat something, take my pills (vitamins, diabetes, etc.), read some fanfiction, then go to sleep.

Checking on my schedule I am working about 50.5 hours a week, with 2.5 hours unpaid travel time between places and, honestly, about 12 hours travel time to and from work with time added in to grab fast food.  This means that for about 65 hours out of every week I am in pursuit of work related activities.  Then take into account that I should be getting about 40 hours of sleep a week and there are 168 hours in a week that should mean that I have about 60 hours free per week.  Of course, 2 hours each day to get ready eat breakfast, coffee, etc. 6 days a week takes this total down to about 50 hours free time.  Well, this is unexpectedly eye opening. I know that I waste about an hour each day playing a few facebook games, however I think this total means that I am spending about 30-40 hours a week reading fanfiction.  Not that there is anything inherently wrong with that, sometimes, however I might need to move out of my rut.  Huh, with these revelations (and figuring out that it takes me about 5 minutes to knit a row on the poncho) I am going to start tracking where some of my time goes a bit better.  I realize that I tend to get into obsessions, not always a bad thing, and that Glee Fanfiction is my current obsession.  I also realized that the Glee Lads Singing “I Believe In A Thing Called Love” are much better than the original artist, especially since Chris Colfer is an actual Countertenor.  Who knew that the music appreciation class Dad helped me with during my undergrad days would pay off even though I am effectively tone deaf.  Okay, that is enough random ramblings:
GOALS THIS WEEK:

  • Figure out where my time Goes
  • Finish the Sleeves
  • Finish the first month of my poncho
  • Work on the first month of my crochet cowl
  • Decide on next project (not Jimmy Beans Wool)
    • Socks, knit
    • Ladybug Cowl from Kelly’s Knit Club
    • Cover for Strickt Planner, Knit
    • New Sweater from Kit (You have about 3)
  • Finish Winding the warp for your first rug, 10 epi
  • Figure out how many inches each of the sections on the sectional warp beam are supposed to cover
  • Look up information about job for interview, figure out some questions like benefits package, outreach efforts, community demographics, etc.

Okay, it looks like my week is going to be busy.  Remember to Live Life A Little More Abstract!

Rag Rug Shuttle

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Okay, so I managed to get a head cold that I am concerned will turn into a sinus infection pretty soon.  I’m currently working until Saturday, and so whatever time I have at home will be spent sleeping.  Today I managed to wind a rag shuttle with 2″ wide strips of cotton cloth.  I plan on doing a lot more, this weft will take quite a bit to make a rug, however I also think I am going to take time to feel completely better first.  As it is I am making a tea every 20 minutes, I hate tea.  Hopefully with Dayquil, Nyquil (which I hate because it leaves me groggy in the morning), zinc, and rest I can get over this headcold and get back to having fun with crafts.  Until then remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!

Trying Double Weave

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Okay, so I decided to go for it and I warped up a loom with 16epi cottolin for 4 yards.  Now I have to figure out how to get it off of my rigid heddle loom and onto one of the tabletop looms, or if I will just use it for a weft for a future project.  I wound the warp, warped the loom, threaded the heddles, made sure I had good tension…still!  Every time I try to move a heddle to get a shed the entire thing starts going loosey-goosey.  I’m done with it.  I’m not really happy about this, however I tried and some days that is all you can do.  I’m going to finally finish weaving off the towel I have on my table loom and see about threading this on there.  Hopefully I’ll be able to get a better shed, I really would hate to waste all of this yarn, it wasn’t cheap, and I would love a table runner out of it.

On another note, I have also received my Strickpaner for 2020 and I am really enjoying getting to know it.  They have a particular company that they work with to create planner stickers, I hope to check them out very soon.  They have 7 pages in the front advertising their company and explaining about the planner.  This is followed by a page of conversion charts, a page of time zones then 8 pages covering 2 years (2020 and 2021) with slots for important events each day of those years.  This is followed by pages of goals, reflections, notes, lessons learned, then we get into quarterly overviews.  Seriously, if I use this properly I should be fairly well set for the year.  There are built in trackers, week spreads with inspiration and tips, this planner seriously rocks.  On page 142 the knitting aspect of the planner begins, Project overviews, ideas, project pages, a pattern for a cover for the planner, yarn purchases, wishlists (yarn, book, accessories separated out), festivals, podcasts, stores, each have their own lists to fill in.  There is so much more, spaces for the sizes and measurements of those that you love to knit for, indexed lists and notes.  The notes are separated into index card sized, graph paper, and dotted paper, before going into a contacts section.  After the contacts are schedules (quarterly which works really well with my work life), some more advertisements, and finally a page with a ruler and needle size conversion chart.  This should be an amazing way to keep track of everything.  They even had an option to purchase a huge set of stickers that contain knitting, spinning, crochet, etc. so that I can mark days when I was able to craft, or plan out days to craft.

I did make another purchase over the weekend, I finally bought a table for my 16 shaft floor loom.  I’m not going back to that store in a hurry so they lost a lot of potential sales, but I did get the table I wanted.  Story time: I went in and saw the table, as I was checking out the lavendar (for moths) and Goats Milk Soap, I need something other than Dial, I asked how much the table was.  The saleswoman was very eager to tell me it was 90, I made a comment about getting it in a couple of weeks.  She was all about, well I’m going to take it home if it doesn’t get bought, and such.  I was honest and told her that my paychecks would be sorted out in a couple of weeks and I could afford it then, she put more pressure on and I guess I caved.  Of course, I was honest, I’m going to be pretty flush in a couple of weeks but hey, if she wants to lose out on the purchases for a quick sale it saves me money in the long run.  So, I have a table that will work for my loom and a couple of extra chairs.  Right now I am in the middle of an 11 day straight stretch of work, however after that I hope to be able to begin setting up my studio.  There are a few days where I do not have to be to work super early, so I could do something in the morning.

I think that’s enough for right now, next time I will discuss my silk dyeing and other experiments.

Remember to Live Life a Little More Abstract!