Q & A with Poppy over on Facebook

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As another part of our tenth birthday year celebrations we’re holding a live Q and A with Poppy over on our facebook page tonight. From 8pm till 9pm you can put your questions to her on anything from starting your own business to freehand machine embroidery techniques to juggling motherhood and running a successful company.

We hope to see you over there tonight, thank you x

Poppy

Meet the team – Liz!

So we thought you’d like to meet another member of our team, this time we want to introduce you to the lovely Liz!

Liz is fairly new to team Treffry, she started in June to help us out in our shop in St.Ives over the busy summer. In her interview Liz said she could sew, so Poppy gave her a trial and she wasn’t wrong! Liz has been sewing since she was a child and was taught everything she knows from her creative & crafty mother! Now that the summer has passed Poppy has utilised Liz’s skills and you will find her in the studio sewing away under a fabric mountain. She mostly sews up our super useful purses and tote bags. In fact sometimes its hard for her to keep up, as you lot seem to love them and they don’t stay on our shelves for very long.

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This is Liz happily sewing away in the studio, she is very good at multi tasking as she can sew whilst nattering away to the team AND drink her tea! Can you spot Freya in the background making the tea for everyone. Liz has black earl grey and her favourite biscuit for dunking is a custard cream.

Liz said the best thing about working at the studio is the eclectic mix of music you get to sew to. You never know what will come on next-anything from Stones Roses to Gotan Project which is Argentinean samba and rather up beat and jolly. According to Poppy it helps you to sew faster!

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On Liz’s last day off she attended Trevaskis Farm‘s annual apple day. Trevaskis farm is a wonderful place where they grow lots of produce that you can go and pick yourself. There are also lots of resident animals to see, an amazing farm shop and a restaurant famous with the locals for its impressive desserts! On apple day there were crates of apples lined up that you could taste and buy. As well as tasting of different ciders, cheeses and chef specials including pork & apple scotch eggs, pork & Rattler pasties, apple doughnuts, turnovers & meringues….mmm now I’m hungry! Liz’s dogs Bella & Scrappy had more than their 5 a day and enjoyed all of the leftover apple cores. Next time you’re around you should definitely make a trip to Trevaskis Farm for the day. Highly recommended!

apple day

Liz likes to cook, when she can get in the kitchen that is… she is very lucky as her husband is a chef! Her signature dish is similar to a Spanish paella with rice scattered with chicken, chorizo, orange slices, red peppers, onions and olives. Sounds tasty hey!

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Liz’s favourite Poppy Treffry product is the bicycle tote bag, she carries it everywhere as it is really well made and strong. She says ‘its bottomless, it just fits everything in’ The one that she has, is even one that she made herself-how good is that! Liz also loves the little robin badges that Freya so patiently creates; they’re just so cute and amazing. We currently have some with spotty backgrounds that look like snow-perfect for that big ‘C’ season ahead!

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our love nest cushion features in Country Living magazine

country living October

country living October

We were delighted today to find out that our love nest cushion is featured in October’s edition of Country Living magazine. Very lovely it looks too.

We found out because a lovely lady phoned us to order one having seen it in the magazine. She has five children and so thought it would be the perfect gift for her husband with the five little eggs in the nest – a lovely idea we thought. Now we have to make sure we don’t accidentally put six eggs in the nest when we make hers, could cause a small panic in that household!!!

Samuel G Winterbourne and love nest cushion

Samuel G Winterbourne and love nest cushion

If you’ve not seen our beautiful love nest cushion before then do take a look at it on our website. It was designed by very talented artist Samuel G. Winterbourne in a fun collaboration with us and we love, love, love the results. Check out Samuel’s website to see more of his beautiful work.

Meet the team….

Here at Treffry HQ we thought you’d like to meet the people that make it all happen. So we’ll start off with the lovely Freya!

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Freya has worked for Poppy for 9 years and is her 2nd ever employee! Freya is in charge of making all the little badges, it is rather fiddly to work so small but she has a lot of patience and has obviously had a lot of practise; she is the badge master! Here she is in action whipping up a batch of bee badges that literally fly out of our doors. She clearly likes making the badges and proudly shows them off-look how many she has on her apron!

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Freya also cuts out all the little appliqué pieces ready to be sewn into lovely Poppy Treffry products and she also plays an important part on bag factory days and sews up the purses. In fact there isn’t much that Freya doesn’t do! I asked Freya if she could tell us something about Poppy that we don’t know, she said; Poppy can knit a mean fair isle sweater. Looks like Poppy has got all her Christmas presents sorted then!

Last weekend Freya went to Mazey day which is part of the 10 day Golowan festival held every year in Penzance. Mazey day is the main day of the festival and artists, schools and community groups hit the streets for a big parade with sculptures and music and lots of dressing up. This year Freya decided to dress up as a human bean, we were all very impressed with her effort….what do you think?!

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In her spare time Freya likes a good book, she enjoys Michael Morpugo children’s stories, he wrote War Horse and in Freya’s opinion he ‘just writes REALLY good stories’. When not working at Poppy’s Freya runs her own label ‘Freya Laughton‘ which sees her sewing, drawing and illustrating. She has recently illustrated a lovely little book about Cornwall’s feasts and festivals which gives an insight into cornish life and lots of traditional cornish recipes, it is available to buy from our little shop in St. Ives. When home from work, Freya likes to cook and can whip up a delicious shepherd’s pie from her grandma’s secret recipe, without giving too much away, instead of a tomato sauce, she adds white sauce to the meat-yum yum!

Freya’s favourite Poppy Treffry products are the new bags and in particular the mounts bay messenger in the flotilla design. At home she has a boaty tea towel that she uses every day and she also has a special flouncy bag with a tractor on that she treasures as Poppy made it for her.

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Freya loves the designs that have tractors, peas and boats because its ‘the real stuff’ and inspired by the things around her in every day life. Her most favourite is the Oyster catcher though as it is one of Poppy’s first designs, it is still very popular today, so clearly you lot love it too!!

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Cool ladies – cool bags!

crazy ladies!

crazy ladies!

 

We’ve just been flicking through some of the shots from our last catalogue shoot and decided this is one of our favourites. Biba is a very good model we think! And the Oyster Catcher messenger bag is the perfect bag to take you through the Spring/Summer 2013 season.

 

 

Choosing a sewing machine – good luck!

One of the questions we get asked the most is ‘how do I choose a sewing machine?’ We don’t profess to be experts on this – we have very old and very nice sewing machines which we use and which do just what we want (most of the time!), but they’re not high tech and weren’t the result of a lot of research. There’s a quote from Poppy in our little film for the Eden project where she says ‘you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find a good one’ and that is certainly true of the way we work, our machines have come from car boots, the dump, charity shops and the odd sewing machine shop (oh yes and ebay), quite often chosen because they’re pretty, about 13 of them at the last count!

one of our beauties!

one of our beauties!

We use old Singer machines which are really very simple but you can also do the technique on many different machines that will be far easier and do much more than our Singers.

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Your best bet to start with is your local sewing shop as they will have a wealth of experience on the subject, although be clear on your budget before you go in and don’t let yourself be seduced by the array of possibilities! It’s a good idea to write a list of what you want the machine to do first and then you’’ll know whether those extra features are of value to you or not. Experience says you should look for a machine that is metal rather than plastic and quite heavy and sturdy.

Our machines have a little screw on the undercarriage which allows you to drop the feed dogs and then we hold our fabric stretched tight in an embroidery hoop but if you can’t find one which does this then you can purchase a metal plate that covers the teeth whilst you’re sewing, or, we’re told, that it works if you set the stitch length to zero, though we haven’t tried this so can’t vouch for certain. We don’t use an embroidery foot when we’re stitching but again this is something you may have to experiment with for yourself, kissing frogs again!

Once you have your sewing machine you’ll find most bunching up and bobbin snarling issues are down to tension of the cloth, the machine and you! So you just need to play with it, and relax, till you get it right.

If you attend one of our courses Poppy gives plenty of advice on sorting out annoying snarl ups or there are also 2 books from Poppy packed with advice alongside the projects for you to complete.

Good luck!

A crafty day at my new job!

Hello, it’s Sarah. I have been working in the Poppy Treffry shop in St. Ives for nearly 2 months now and I thought it was about time I tried out some of this freehand machine embroidery! I attended one of Poppy’s courses last Friday and had such a great time. I am used to a sewing machine so that was a bonus but there were a few on the course that hadn’t even sewn before and everyone still completed their piece by the end of the day. Poppy was really friendly and helpful and explained everything in a simple step by step way so that it wasn’t too taxing! The course took place at the studio at Penzance, it was nice to see the environment that all the products are made in. It was a sunny day and Poppy had the doors flung open to let the summer sunshine & breezes flood in. It is such a lovely place to make and create, I’m very jealous as I would love a studio for making and crafting; I’ll have to put up with the tiny spare room office at home for now!

the stichers at work

So the day started off with a meet and greet with Poppy and my fellow stitchers for the day. Of course there was immediately a cup of tea served in Poppy Treffry mugs. I had the boat one! Poppy demonstrated how to stretch the fabric tightly in the embroidery hoop, this is the basis of freehand embroidery and is very important as it doesn’t work properly if your fabric is too loose. Once this was done we could start having a go at sewing. We each had a singer sewing machine and sat down to start stitching away. The first hour or two was spent having a play and getting to know the techniques and getting used to the machine with a few Poppy demonstrations for appliqué in between. I seemed to stitch variations of flowers and leaves, so it was clear that this would feature in my final design. I had quite a scribbly style which was handy as if it didn’t go quite inside the lines, I could say I was meant to do that! Others were more precise and neat; the lady next to me was a teacher and she was amazing at freehand embroidery writing. It was good as everyone had a unique style! When we got to a point that we were happy, we could start thinking about the design we wanted to create in the afternoon. Once it got to 1 o clock it was time for lunch so we walked across the road to the beautiful Trereife House where we all had lunch together in their café and a little walk round the garden. The food was lovely and it was the first time I had tried potted stilton and frosted grape – find something similar here

my design laid out ready to stitch

After lunch and some sunshine it was back to the studio to get started on our pieces. You can either make a bag, cushion, tea cosy, egg cosy or a purse. I chose a cushion with of course a floral design. I sketched out what I wanted it to look like on paper and selected and cut out my appliqué pieces, took a deep breath and made a start. At first I thought it was going to take forever but as you get going you get quicker and before I knew it, it was 3 o clock and time for more tea and biscuits. Then it was just some finishing off, some ironing and then to actually sew the cushion and, tadah, it was complete! We put everyone’s creations together on the sofa and stood back to admire with a sigh and a sense of achievement. We even got a little goody bag to take home with us.

Our finished pieces or art! Cue smug faces!

I was so pleased with what I had produced in a day, I met a lot of nice people and it was great to work with Poppy in her inspiring studio. Now I can tell everyone that comes into the shop how amazing the course is and that everyone should have a go at freehand embroidery as it really is very fun, and quite addictive!

My lovely cushion in it’s new home!

Sewing at Bedruthan Steps Hotel

Sara and I are back from Bedruthan Steps Hotel tired but happy! We’ve had a wonderful weekend teaching 12 lovely people (some who’d tried it before, most who hadn’t) the fine art of freehand machine embroidery.

The hotel run a series of weekend breaks of which stitching with Poppy Treffry is just one. You stay for two nights have all your meals, a beautiful view over the Cornish Coast, time to relax in the gorgeous Ocean Spa and two days learning a new skill or craft! They offer everything from baby yoga to shoemaking!

So all our old Singer sewing machines made the journey from Penzance in one piece along with a few suitcases of fabric and we had a thoroughly enjoyable weekend sewing. Everyone managed to complete a project from start to finish, working from their own inspiration to make tea cosies, bags and cushions and, in some cases, coming up with their own new products (like a Fulham Football Club camera bag and a Dalek MP3 case!)

The images below show just a few of the amazing things the group put together in only 2 days. It never ceases to surprise me when I see what other people come up with…enjoy! (and tell us what you think in the comments – didn’t they do well?)

To find out more about breaks at Bedruthan click here. To find out more about our day stitching courses (and our first residential course at Trereife House) visit our website
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