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A Tortoise File

An embroidery scandal

Why did a century-old embroidery charity, led by a CEO who proudly said he’d never picked up a needle, go to war with its craft-loving members?

An embroidery scandal

First published
Monday 29 March 2021

Last updated
Sunday 28 March 2021

Why this story?

This is an investigation into the world of sewing – not a sentence I thought I’d write. But when the tip first came to our newsroom, that something was going badly wrong at the Embroiderers’ Guild, a century-old charity to promote the art of needlework, we were hooked. Over weeks of reporting, speaking to women who have been members of the Guild for decades, our reporter Claudia Williams has discovered a story – behind all the anger and vitriol – that is about community and how precious it is. It’s about how women’s art and crafts have been overlooked and underestimated for centuries. And at the heart of this story are some militant women with needles who are fighting for what they love. Basia Cummings, editor