05 May 2011

A Conversation with Natalie of Poppy and Bee

With a focus on high quality yarns and a preference for natural fibres - beautiful handmade crochet garments and accessories are Natalie of Poppy & Bee's speciality.  Add to this high quality finishes and detailing , Poppy & Bee's crochet creations available on-line are all made to order - you don't get more personal service than that!  Read on to learn more about the creator behind the brand....

Who is Poppy& Bee?
Poppy & Bee is the home of scrumptious handcrafted crochet hats and other goodies made with New Zealand yarns. The company is named for my son and daughter. I accidentally (!) started this business after deciding to take a year’s leave from teaching to enjoy Poppy’s last year at home before she started school.

What’s your “handmade groove?”
I don’t know if I have one! I love to crochet, and really enjoy the methodical, meditative nature of it. I really love that I am creating something that can’t be replicated on a machine, and that people love to touch and wear.

What’s on your bedside table right now? (Hey, no tidying up or censoring)
A lamp; ‘Middlesex’ by Jeffrey Eugenides; my son’s pocket money chart; a necklace stand covered in tangled necklaces, bracelets and earrings; two cards from my children; some (ok, lots) of dust; my phone and a scrap of yarn.

Who are your creative role models? What music, books, images, poetry spark your creative fire?
I don’t know if I’d describe myself as creative, at all, I just like crocheting! As far as a creative role model, my Mum is the creative one that taught me everything I know, growing up she crafted in nearly every modality going – cane weaving, crochet, knitting, fabric paint, tapestry, sewing, hairdressing, floral art… the list is endless!

If I can turn on music (loud), anything rock or heavy guitars my energy levels soar! I definitely am inspired by other crafters, by both their art and their business models.

What could you talk late into the night about with like minded people?
Music, books, yarn, my children, teaching/education, and then I bang on about the resurgence of crochet and how it’s the way of the future!

If you could go to three free workshops/creative events this year which ones would they be? What are they about?
If miraculously a crochet workshop other than a beginner’s one appeared I’d be there! I’d love to attend a WAHM seminar and of course anything with crafters is always motivating.

How do you balance your creative life with your family, life commitments?
Not very well! I’m housework disabled, so if any other alternative presents itself I’ll avoid cleaning if at all possible. I left my full time job at the end of last year as I had no balance at all, as a school teacher the job was never done. Now I spend the days establishing Poppy&Bee and experimenting with crochet. I am able to be there for my children when they need me, without feeling like I’m compromising anything. Still working on how to get to the gym, but I consider myself a work in progress.

What is your favourite creative screw-up?
Newborn hats that barely fit on dolls, and I STILL make silly yarn weight mistakes when reading US patterns.

Kitchen table or studio?
Spare room. Kitchen table is covered in play dough, glitter, mail, toast plates and the occasional family of dead wasps. The Bee has been moved to share a room with Poppy so that Mummy can spread her mess in a contained space.

Do you have a wish list? Can you tell us what’s on it?
Lots and lots and lots of handspun local yarn, some solid wood ‘hat heads’, and a regular weekly massage. Oh, and always after more crochet hooks.

Poppy & Bee's creations can be found on-line at their Felt shop, and Website.  And if you're in Auckland, do check out our Markets Page to see where you will find Poppy & Bee in person (and this savvy stallholder has Eftpos!).


  1. Great interview Poppy, thanks for sharing, loving that Camo ear-flap beanie on your Website. cheers Marie

  2. I would like to know how long you spend crocheting a day Natalie - great range and quality! Love your work.

  3. Great little peek into your life Natalie! I have so much admiration for people who can crochet and end up with something so beautiful!

  4. A great read... you had me chuckling. x

  5. I love crocheting! We should start our own crochet workshop. :)

  6. Thanks everyone for the kind words. I tried to be as candid as possible, as you know it really is a hard balancing act being a WAHM, and I wanted to get across that it doesn't always turn out perfectly :)
    @Mel, I spend about 2-3 hours during the day on Poppy&Bee work, then about 5 hours in the evening (yes, really). I am lucky that there is such a demand for the quality work I am doing, and am always trying to make sure no one has to wait too long for their goodies.
    @Kya - ooooh yes - I like that idea very much!

  7. I'll definitely come to your crochet workshop if you can teach me how to get started. I've tried a couple of time to crochet but its never really stuck :b

    Love your work :)


  8. Oooh - crochet workshop - I'm going to think about that quite seriously. What a fun-tastic idea.


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