Embroidery Kit Makeover: Aro Monstera Plant

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.

When K-Mart releases a set of $5 AUD embroidery kits, what’s a green-blooded aromantic with a thread collection to do but make them more aro?

The real truth: I kind of suck at freehand embroidery. Years of sewing dolls’ clothes shortened my stitches, narrowed my hems, extended my patience and failed to correct my crookedness. My grandmother, on the other hand, was a real-life stitch witch who never met a piece of cotton or linen onto which she wouldn’t embroider flowers! She passed before I was old enough to learn such magic from her, but I yearn to possess this myself. So when I saw K-Mart’s kits, I thought them a good opportunity for practice.

These kits feature simple designs in a minimal colour palette, making it easy to swap in pride flag colours:

A bamboo embroidery hoop sitting on a blue microfibre blanket. The hoop is filled with cream cloth featuring an embroidered monstera plant growing in a grey and white striped pot, with script text reading "keep growing" in black backstitch. The pot and the leaves of the monstera plant--sewn in light and medium green-are filled with satin stitch, while the black stems are sewn in repeated chains of very fine split stitch. All colours used in the piece are from the aromantic flag.

My finished piece is nice but not fabulous. I struggled to maintain even tension for the widest sections of satin stitch. My fabric had a few misprinted sections where the stems didn’t align, forcing me to widen them in places so they’d match up (but, alas, leaving the tallest stem cursed with crooked). I’m not sure if my slanted pot happened from further misprinting or my ineptitude. My backstitched lettering looks good, though … and I again have hoop art that’s wonderfully (but subtly) aromantic.

Random tips and observations:

  • The instructions say to cut your floss into lengths of one metre. Don’t do this … unless you like swearing at the sewing gods every time your absurdly-long floss knots and tangles.
  • Use small (read: really tiny) stitches when backstitching the lettering’s curves and loops to create a more rounded-looking line. Some of mine cover only two or three threads in the fabric beneath.
  • I added a small French knot above the “i” in “growing” because the lack of dot annoyed me. (If you fear French knots, try this video tutorial by River Birch Threads.) I do think it looks better this way.
  • When using six ply/strands of floss, as shown in the kit example photo, you’ll want the provided needle for its large eye. When using two strands/ply of floss, as I did above, try a smaller embroidery crewel. The huge holes left by the kit needle made it hard to neatly sew meeting sections of satin stitch. Switching to a finer, sharper needle gave me more control over stitch placement and fewer instances of damaged fabric.
  • Depending on your chosen pride flag, you may be able to use the kit’s floss: the monstera plant came with black and two shades of green.

I used Sullivans floss from Lincraft in the following colours for the aro flag:

  • Green: 45161 (DMC 701)
  • Light green: 45163 (DMC 703)
  • White: 45001 (DMC Blanc)
  • Grey: 45059 (DMC 318)
  • Black 45053 (DMC 310)

These kits lack something in quality. The provided floss is thick and fluffy, like cheap dollar-shop thread. I’m a little miffed by the misprinted design, although that isn’t a problem on the rainbow kit I just opened. Since a 15 cm wood or bamboo embroidery hoop alone costs around $4 AUD, as someone with floss but not much (freehand) experience, I do appreciate these kits’ simplicity and affordability. Not having to find or draw designs lets me build up confidence by simply practising my stitches. And they are so very easy to make aromantic!

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