Craft Collection: Aro Cross-Stitch Patches

Handdrawn illustration of a green meadow foreground with green pine trees growing against various green-hued mountain ridgelines. Scene is overlaid with the dark green/light green/white/grey/black stripes of the aromantic pride flag. The text Aro Worlds Crafts sits across the image in a black, antique handdrawn type, separated by two ornate Victorian-style black dividers.

I don’t own any pride merch, aside from a small rainbow-striped flag that sits on my desk, that isn’t handmade. Most pride merch items can only be purchased online, and even if shipping to or within Australia weren’t prohibitively expensive, I still don’t have money to spend on optional extras.

As shown on my about page, I’ve made beaded fidget toys, simple jewellery, aro pride dresses for Sylvanian Families figurines and a journal cover made from washi tape. I’ve spent a few years pondering the making of pride flag patches, as in something I could theoretically accomplish should I find enough absence of pain and motivation. As I’d gotten back into hand sewing (mostly in making clothing for my Lori dolls) this year, it seemed like a good time to try!

A square pride patch attached to the front panel of a grey jacket. The patch is made of five stripes of coloured thread cross-stitched onto aida cloth, the edges embroidered with a tight blanket stitch done in an embroidery floss that darkens and fades from pastel yellow to a grass green. The five cross-stitched stripes are sewn in the colours of the allo-aro pride flag: dark green, light green, white, yellow, gold.

My first patch is a simple square in allo-aro pride with a green fading into yellow trim. This is a simple 19 x 19 square on 14-count aida – 15 x 15 for the stripes with 2 squares extra each side for the edging.

The edging is done in blanket stitch. I’m good at this on fabrics like a jersey knit or pleather, but keeping the stitches neat, consistent and starting in the same place on an unravelling fabric like aida is a little more difficult than I expected. I’m pleased with how this turned out given that I’d never done anything like this before, but it is a bit of a practice piece.

A yellow canvas backpack sitting on a light blue sheet. The backpack is covered with multiple square cross-stitched patches in the designs of various pride flags. Pride flags include aromantic, gay/rainbow/queer, trans, allo-aro, abrosexual, nebularomantic and arovague. The patches are all edged with embroidery in variegated threads shifting between two colours or a lighter and darker shade of the same colour.

Because my main bag is a bright yellow backpack, the next thing to do was cover it in patches. My first lot includes aromantic, rainbow, trans, another allo-aro, abrosexual, nebularomantic and arovague pride flags.

The five-stripe flags have the same dimensions as the first patch, while the six-stripe flag is 22 x 22 squares and the large patches are 25 x 25. All the pieces in this post have been sewn from the same scrap of 14-count aida.

This is where it begins to become obvious that my embroidery floss stash (a lot of it vintage skeins inherited from my grandmother) doesn’t offer accurate stripe colours! The worst offender is my nebularomantic flag, but the green stripes on both allo-aro and aro flags and all the non-white stripes on the abrosexual flag are far too dark. The arovague flag, on the other hand, looked fairly close when I held the threads together, but only after stitching did I realise how much the grey blends into the light green.

You can see here that I’m still working on getting my edging consistent.

I will remake the nebularomantic and arovague patches, but they’re good enough for now.

A rectangular pride patch sitting on a bright red pillow. The patch features the word "ARO" embroidered in the dark green, light green, white, grey and black of the aromantic pride flag, outlined in bright green back-stitch. The text sits in front of a colour-shifting green background and the whole patch is edged in dark green thread.

I’m stoked with how my first foray into designing cross-stitch text turned out. While I don’t consider the “R” perfected, to have it go this well gave me the confidence to consider future designs using pride flag stripes to fill text.

However. I blame this misstep on sleep deprivation and changing psych meds, because there’s no other way I can justify the terrible choice of a green background against green-striped text. There’s absolutely no contrast! I’m still so annoyed with myself that I ruined a good patch by making it illegible with that excess green!

An embroidered, cross-stitch patch sitting on a blue microfibre blanket. The patch is rectangular, featuring the text “ARO” sewn in the colours of the dark green/light green/white/grey/black pride flag against a pale yellow cross-stitched background and a gold hand-embroidered border

This one’s readable, thank the aro gods. My edging still needs some practice, but I think this one is my neatest attempt yet, going by photos.

(In real life, the corners are far lumpier and I prefer the edging on the green patch. Thank you, kind camera!)

I struggled a bit with the background, given the limitations of my thread colours. A mauve or light purple would work, but I didn’t want to use purple: it’d likely be mistaken for an aro-ace patch. Light pink would also work, but there’s also a fair amount of pink on my bag already and it’s not a colour I like. So I went for allo-aro yellow/gold colours (albeit light and darker, respectively, than the flag) and I’m happy with the end result. Readable text, clear aro pride, subtle allo-aro pride.

Of course, I now have no reason not to do a patch with the text “allo aro”. Maybe a patch with the word “aromantic”? Or “autistic aro”? Or…

It would be nice to be able to display my pride through purchasing items online, especially from other aro creators. I’m finding it empowering, though, to make my own patches. I’m not dependant on what other people think are popular/saleable identities or pride designs. I can do whatever I want, limited only by one thing–the colours in my embroidery floss stash!

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