Category Archives: written posts

why I blog

Jessica recently posted about why she writes a blog, apparently there is a round of these posts though as I do not read many blogs Jessica’s is the first post I’ve seen on the subject, I read many of the replies to her post and noticed many people write to an audience, this is what made me consider writing my own post about why I blog and how I started, and the journey I’ve traveled as a blogger for nine and a half years,
frances caple.ropes in nets2
in the beginning, long ago in January 2005 a quilt list I was/still am on a member posted that she had just started a weblog, web log shortened to blog nowadays, they were/are online diaries, and she asked if other quilters were doing the same or would be interested in starting, she wanted to create a ‘ring’ for quilters, you do not see rings much now and I’ve found some of the ones I belong to no longer work so I have removed them from my side bar, it was a means of a group of weblogs to connect to each other, I started my first weblog and joined the ring,
the name Island Threads came because I was at that time living on 2 islands, my home was here on Lewis but most of my week was spent on North Uist, so as I was traveling between the 2 islands, I was connecting a thread and of course textiles and quilting are all about threads,


allium detail

allium detail

so when I read about people blogging for online presence then being surprised and pleased to find they are communicating, for me communicating was there from the start, although we communicated through the quilt list and still do the weblog gave us the advantage of showing photos, which is why I have not used the title ‘why I write’ for me it’s all about seeing, I’m not talking perfect photos I’m talking seeing as you could see if you could pop round to each others homes,


I deleted that first weblog in the summer of 2006 but as I had most of the posts in word format, after having a post disappear when I clicked publish early in my blogging life, I write all my posts in a text document first, I started to upload some of the early posts to this blog a few years ago but never have finished the project,

sunrise over Barvas moor

I soon started blogging again as I missed it only this time I used the BBC island blogging site for my blog to connect with other islanders as well as quilters, the BBC closed their blog platform in (I think) 2009, as I had started this wordpress blog and used it in 2008 for a picture a day posts, I moved everything here and I hope not to move again,
I began to quilt/stitch less and garden more, I found blotanical in September 2010 and met other garden bloggers my garden took over Island Threads, I know the name does not fit so well but I’m not changing it,


I still think of my blog as an online diary, I write and post photos of what I want to record about the garden and occasionally other things, that other people should find my thoughts and photos interesting enough to want to read is nice and when they comment and we can have a conversation that’s even better, I read the blogs of people who comment on my blog (if they have one) and comment on most, I’m afraid I don’t comment on some google/blogger blogs due to the commenting set up needing me to either log into a google account or share my wordpress account with google, neither of which I wish to do, my choice,


my online diary is an evolving diary, it has changed in the last 9.5 years and will no doubt change again as the years roll on, visitors have come and gone, I’ve met some lovely people along the way and a few unwanteds which is why I now monitor comments, I have participated in textile exchanges, received plants from other gardeners and had the pleasure of meeting up with some people, x


©Copyright 2014 Frances Caple. All rights reserved. Content created by Frances Caple for Island Threads.

the wet garden and groundcovers

some time ago I posted a book I had just found in the library, The Wet Garden by John Simmons, I found the book useful though it would have been more useful if I had read it prior to starting a garden, I found the writer very honest about his experience with plants and if he had no experience with a plant he said so, he said the wet garden is the most difficult as the moisture keeps things alive, I now howl with laughter at the ignorance of people who say you can hoe off weeds and let them sit on the soil to shrivel up and die, not in the wet garden the moisture keeps them alive and they just turn the root back down into the soil, apparently seeds stay viable much longer in the wet garden, and as every wet gardener knows everything gets watered frequently, unlike the dry garden where the gardener can choose what to water and weeds left on the soil surface really do shrivel and die,
but to me one thing he didn’t mention is that for the wet gardener if the weather is the cause of the wet as apposed to underground water causing swampy areas, if it is rain or snow that creates the wet garden then time in the garden is severly reduced, even in dry gardens with hot summers gardeners can get into their garden early and late in the day before the heat of the day comes up also many plants in a hot climate go dormant in the heat of summer to conserve energy, in the wet garden it can and does rain twenty four seven,

why not use weeds as groundcovers?
this part of this post has be prompted by two things:
1) Christina’s comment that I could leave the horsetail in my garden as a ground cover,
2) my vain attempts this morning trying to dig out some of the weeds in the path between the Tweenie garden and Damp meadow,

as I viewed the horsetails all around me, they are in full growing mode just now, Christina’s words kept coming back to me, it is not easy digging weeds out of the wet garden, in the end after 45 minuets and 2 large bucketfuls of weeds, horsetails being just one, I felt so low I gave up and came in, I made some strong coffee, ate and watched a DVD that should have cheered me, it didn’t and has been turnned off, writing, writing how I feel, and I am feeling why bother, when I arrived here the garden had just 2 groundcovers that were doing and excellent job,
the Calluna vulargis, which is still here and is unlikely to be removed in my lifetime,
and a really tough blanketing/smothering grass combined with spaghnum moss, which I have only partly cleared and stands ready to take over constantly, when I went away last summer for just 2 weeks it covered the damp meadow,

how foolish of me to want flowers for more than one month in the year or to want to bring insects, birds and other wildlife into my garden, the Calluna only flowers for a month in late summer the rest of the time it is brown, the moss and grass do not flower,
I had no worries about horsetail, sheeps sorel, dandelions, creeping buttercup and many other weeds, many I can’t name, they can’t push up through the tough grass and moss,
what a surprise I got when I cleared my first patch of grass and moss to see the variety of other tough weeds appear, none of the garden books and magazines I’d read or gardening programmes I’d listen to mentioned this, oh occasionally the topic of weeds would be dealt with but always as if it was just a case of weeding a bit and they’d be gone!! ha, ha, hah,

people say I live in a beautiful landscape, it has a rugged beauty, it is also the same as the wild moors the Bronte sisters wrote about, the view to the moor from my kitchen window could easily have Cathy and Heathcliff running across it………


©Copyright 2014 Frances Caple. All rights reserved. Content created by Frances Caple for Island Threads.

And so a word for 2012

For a few years now I have chosen a word to help guide me through the year, the first 2 years this worked well, Now and Edit gave me guidance and helped me form some good habits which I still have.

Last years trio of play on one sound of word has not proved to have worked, I chose sow, sew, so.
Well I sow seed, watch and weed but no seed grows.
I sew only utilitarian items like new curtains, my artistic textile muse is still asleep.
It was so (as intensifier) wet, dry, wet.
So on and so forth (continuing) so it rains and rains!

I only started thinking about a word for 2013 in the last few days and was even wondering after last years disaster whether to bother then ‘declutter’ came to me. For me it is a follow on from ‘edit’, I need to be strong and get rid of more things as I have just too much that has been accumulating all my life. I will never be a minimalist, but somewhere halfway between that and where I am now would be good.


©Copyright 2013 Frances Caple. All rights reserved. Content created by Frances Caple for Island Threads.

awards and warnings

there has been an award circling garden blogs recently, when I bogged about my textiles there were no awards circulating the quilt community, neither when I was blogging with the BBC island blogging community, it seems to be something garden bloggers do, I only came across these awards after I joined blotanical, until last night I had never seen an award free blog badge, I understand it is a way of showing appreciation to a blog that you like and a way to introduce others to blogs you enjoy, these awards often ask for personal info and as I posted recently I do have problems talking about me personal, I recently read 2 blogs where the recipients had politely declined,

so I want to give a very big thank you to Donna at Gardens Eye View for giving me the Versatile blogger award I do appreciate her sentiments and am touched that she should think of me, I hope she will forgive me for not fully participating,

I thought as a chocoholic I would do a fun list of 7 chocolate things I like, all edible,
1 chocolate bars
2 chocolate cake
3 hot chocolate
4 chocolate biscuits
5 chocolate cheesecake  
6 flaky chocolate
7 chocolate ice cream

I am afraid I can’t introduce you to 15 blogs as I have a hard time trying to keep up with the blogs I like reading, I don’t look for new ones any more as I can’t fit them in I realise I am probably missing something good but we can’t have everything, many of the blogs I read like Donna have already received the award, I hope my readers understand,


a warning to any gardener in an area where there are rabbits, deer and creatures that will eat your best plants, when I moved here there was no sign of rabbits close to the village, there were rabbits in the area but they never came into the village, into gardens, so rabbit protection never even occurred to me, for 6 years I lived in this blissful ignorance, then a baby rabbit appeared one summer, it did a bit of damage but not much or so I thought, it was later and especially when I look at photos of the garden pre rabbits that I realised quite a lot of plants had ‘gone’
the rabbit it seems is very crafty and lulls you into thinking they have gone and are not feeding in your garden any more, last year I hardly saw them around and found no damage but in the last month they have made up for that and several plants that were growing well including new cuttings planted last spring have suffered sever damage or disappeared completely,
so if you have something living near you that has not eaten your garden yet beware they could start at any moment, think about and even start to erect fencing to keep them off your veggies and plants, if you can’t protect all as you have a large plot then fence off your veggie patch and perhaps fence off an area for plants you like that these creatures like too,
my first task in the garden now I have decided, is to get that chicken wire up around my fence, there is a large roll of chicken wire in my shed doing no good at all, it’s a job I do not like but the next time I find myself lagging I will remind myself of my missing plants,  

©Copyright 2011 Frances Caple. All rights reserved. Content created by Frances Caple for Island Threads.

word for 2012

sow sew so

the last 2 years instead of making new year’s resolutions I have taken a word for the year,

the first year my word was ‘now’ as I wanted to spend less time thinking about things but just get on and do it, I found it worked well for me and has instilled a good habit to not think oh there is so much to do where do I start but instead to think this needs doing so does that, I’ll do that,

last year I chose ‘edit’ and that has worked very well in the form of ‘edit out’ I have sorted and got rid of lots of things I had long ago forgot why I was keeping them and the garden has improved greatly from much editing, I did not however do much ‘editing in’ in the form of going for more walks but I think I have the right to blame the weather for that!

this week I have been thinking of a word for this year and the word ‘calm’ kept coming to mind but it is not ‘me’ that needs calm it’s the ‘weather!!’  

my word for this year is ‘sow’ ‘sew’ ‘so’ in all it’s forms of spelling,
as I said in my previous post I want to grow more veggies which will require me to ‘sow’  seed and after the success of the seeds in the new bed last year I want to also ‘sow’ more flower seeds,
I have not done much textile work for a long time  and want to  ‘sew’ something, if I hand ‘sew’ while watching a dvd it will stop me eating as much as I have been, which is too much,
so this brings me to ‘so’ with it’s many, many meanings, from looking in my large dictionary 3 descriptions of ‘so’ are:
3 (intensifier) it’s so lovely, I’m so happy,
7 and so on or so forth, and continuing similarly,
8 just so, arranged with precision,
my interpretation of these 3 is that some things will continue the same and some will become better which will ‘intensify’ my pleasure of them,

what word would you chose for your year?

©Copyright 2011 Frances Caple. All rights reserved. Content created by Frances Caple for Island Threads.

thankful Thursday

very late last night I had a break through, I decided to work on and went to bed around 3 am so got up later than usual and as I needed to go to town got the morning bus, I thought I’d post an update on my dilemma of yesterday, I started planning my made up woman with family by thinking of people I know and myself at a younger age, I also took several breaks and yesterday evening worked through some of the exercises on my current studies, I then started flipping through some of the numerous language  books I have and that was when I got the ‘light bulb’ moment and started writing, I know it’s a spoken assignment but I can’t just say it I have got to write first, by 2 am I felt I had a good start so opened the recording programme and gave it a go, I did 3 tries and they are not too desperate but do need more work, the assignment needs to be in by next Thursday 12th Jan. so I have almost a week to tweak it but at least I have something started, I think one reason it threw me so yesterday was the previous assignment we had to write about very much the same things so I had expected something different but I guess they are following the old teaching rule, say it once repeat it then say it again, it is a good rule and does work, for anyone who may be interested my made up self is,

a designer late thirties, married with 1 daughter, I have a sister who is married with 3 children (I have always wanted nephews and nieces), I live in a small village with 1 church, 1 food shop and post office, no supermarket,

so the place I live is very near a description to my area, one of the subjects we studied for this assignment was directions, getting from A to B and one of the things I should include is ‘location’ so I think I need to add some directions,

now some garden news, when I was in the library last week I found they had a new gardening book,
the RHS Fruit and Vegetable Gardening by Michael Pollock,
it is proving to be a good read, it has even included ‘peat soil’ in the section soil types ~ nearly faints in amazement ~
reading all these blogs on allotments and their bountiful crops, I want to grow more food and so need to learn much more,
the amount of rain we have had this week I will soon be able to swim in the lower part of the garden, must make a note to see if I can improve drainage,

update, from some of the comments I have realised that because some people are reading on blotanical they only see the most recent post and this post is part 2 of wet wordy Wednesday, the Wednesday post will explain that the made up me is not a dream or wishful me but a person that better fit’s the criteria of an assignment where I have to talk about certain aspects of myself and my family or a made up self and made up family,

©Copyright 2011 Frances Caple. All rights reserved. Content created by Frances Caple for Island Threads.

wet wordy Wednesday

it’s a grey day inside and out today, I managed to join in with wordless Wednesday every week last year but today the first Wednesday of the new year has me beat,

as well as the weather I have a language assignment due next week and I just looked at the last part of the assignment which is a speaking part and I’ve got to say personal things about me! I find that difficult in english, we had to write personal things in the previous assignment, I didn’t include everything on their list as I hadn’t realised I ‘had’ to and lost marks because of it, I have difficultly talking personal in this way, we can make up a person but I also have difficultly with role play and lying, just posting to ask if anyone else has difficulty in this and have you found ways of coping with it,