The Handmade Fair pick of the week: Mad in England

Pretty needlepoint cushions by Mad in England

We talk to Kirstie Allsopp’s Handmade Fair favourite, Mad In England about what they’re looking forward to most at The Handmade Fair!

Mad in England needlepoint cushions

Childhood friends Georgina Holt and Nicola Grellier are reviving the ancient craft of needlepoint with their contemporary kits under the Mad In England brand. These original MAD lovely mini needlepoint kits designed by Nicola are great for new or rusty stitchers! We caught up with Nicola to find out what a typical day looks like for Mad In England and what they’ll be getting up to at The Handmade Fair.

What inspired you to start your business?

I’m a painter and collage artist with a mum who was always sewing and taught me to stitch at a young age. I had been making needlepoints of my own designs for years as one-offs for fun and found it similar to painting in that it’s a very graphic craft. My oldest friend (and Mad business partner) Georgina kept telling me that we could turn it into a business and I finally succumbed to her charms about four years ago.

What does a typical day at work look like for you?

After the school run and a dog jog I get into the studio and tackle admin with my lovely assistant, Lucy Cunningham. She deals with all the finance and supplies and I’ll pack orders or work on bespoke pieces. The studio is always a mess, so I’ll probably have a bit of a tidy up and we might work on a newsletter or competition campaign. I’ll work until 6 on new designs, programming for printing, social networking and nipping into the house to say hello to children and dogs (the studio is in the garden).

Mad in England needlepoint workshops

What do you love most about working in the world of needlepoint?

Wool is like paint to me – I love making the designs and choosing the colours and I’m luckily addicted to stitching!

Any new projects you can tell us about?

I’ve just finished a big 3D banner using all our excess bits of wool to showcase our colour range at MAD. It’s my favourite piece to date as it was such fun to stitch. It’ll be fronting our stall at Handmade Fair so do pop by to see it in all its glory. We’re about to launch some downloadable designs for the first time, too and between September and Christmas a percentage on all sales of our adorable love pillows will go to charity.

Mad in England Love Pillows

Tell us a little bit about what you’ll be doing at the fair?

We’re going to have a new stall set up which will show our designs in a really clear way and hopefully we’ll be able to demonstrate stitches at the stall. We also do lots of bespoke designing so we’ll be able to talk people through the process of these and the Love Pillows as well as showing our large family of mini, midi and big kits.

Mad In England can be found in the Shopping Village/Artisan Marketplace, stand E40a
Check out all the exhibitors and book your tickets for The Handmade Fair now at

The Handmade Fair, Surrey

Hampton Court Palace

East Molesey, Surrey KT8 9AU, UK

18-20 September 2015

Full experience Ticket, £29
Includes a Super Theatre session, Skills Workshop and Grand Make of your choice.

VIP Tickets, £95
Includes a glass of bubbly with Kirstie, afternoon tea, an exclusive gift bag, front row seating in the Super Theatre and access to the VIP lounge, with refreshments and entertainment.