To everybody who doesn’t want another embroidery-themed post, I apologise. Another lockdown has taken my anxiety disorder to just short of “breakdown”. I’m in what I call the “spending my days desperately trying not to think” stage, in which anxiety or distress about one big thing leaves me unable to manage (read: “muddle through with”) my many normal anxieties. Since there’s no immediate release from the main trigger, I’m floundering.
(While Australia is having conversations about lockdowns and mental health, there isn’t enough acknowledgement of the way a pandemic–our health now more obviously impacted by other people’s actions–creates additional stresses for folks who already couldn’t trust family, friends, doctors and politicians to ensure our health and safety. This stress doubles when we’re still required to interact with those people who placed their privilege, convenience or pleasure above our health.)
Sewing provides me the distraction needed to steer my brain past the jagged rocks of crying panic. As I had one more K-Mart embroidery kit, well.
Note: I consider this site’s content advisory page sufficient for non-fiction posts, but as I need asexuals to read this essay, I’ll begin by saying that I reference sexual attraction, sex acts, sex repulsion and sexualisation. And romance! I also cite common examples of sex negativity/sex-negative language, misogyny, ableism, cissexism, heterosexism, amatonormativity and allo-aro antagonism.
I now seldom participate in–and even actively avoid–online general aromantic and a-spec spaces.
This isn’t because I don’t wish to meet other aros. This isn’t because I’m uninterested in what other aros have to say. This also isn’t entirely because chronic pain limits my online interaction and I can’t afford the supports/technology needed for full access (although this is the reason why I fail in replying to comments and asks).
This is because any space predominantly occupied by asexuals results in my being exposed to posts that hurt like a punch to the gut.
After seven years in Rajad, Darius has fallen out of love with the unattainable and avoided falling in love with the companionate. If he lives at arm’s length from passion, isn’t that better than risking the abuse his fellow mercenaries so eagerly deliver to an autistic who can’t quite fit in? But when the right person suggests a romantic relationship, “yes” still won’t grace his tongue, and Darius hasn’t the least idea why. He likes Harlow. Shouldn’t he want to love her?
The only thing he can do is turn to his old friends and rescuers, the Ravens. They have an answer if he can stumble his way through asking the question … but it may upend every truth Darius thinks he knows about himself.
Love in the House of the Ravens is a story about what it means to be aromantic and autistic when the world isn’t accepting of either.
A coven of gentlewoman witches seems like the perfect place for Luck Vaunted to hide from hir powerful brother, father and husband. Even better, the upcoming Guildmeet ball offers the new Luck the perfect chance to experiment with genderlessness, magic and sex, if only ze can avoid more sorcery-revealing accidents. Sure, the witches welcome hir with open arms, but after hir twin’s betrayal, how can ze risk trusting anyone but hirself?
When hir brother attends the Guildmeet, a lover expects romantic intimacy and a quest of boots threatens to reveal hir deceit, Luck can no longer outrun hir monsters. Hir only chance of escape: the Westhold coven. But how does ze ask, when ze has lied to them, too?
Some fairy-tale families are formed by blood or marriage. Others are formed by aromantic witches defending each other against respectability, amatonormativity … and the sorcerer potentate’s heir.
Luck listed every disreputable possibility, a litany birthed of desire and envy, on a scrap of paper nestled inside hir corset.
In my days of chronic pain and familial interruption, I found patch patterns easiest to create. I started by sharing a handful of new and expanded/variant pattens with my Patreon supporters … and then, on a bit of a Photoshop roll, reworked some of my older patterns with needed letter-shape and template changes.
Due to pain limitations, I again offer a collection of cross stitch text patterns without stitched examples. Folks wishing to stitch the “abro”, “aro”, “alloaro” and “aroace” patterns can find finished examples on parts oneand two of my text patch miniseries, but please expect slight differences from the updated designs.
This patch isn’t new: folks who have read my second tutorial post may remember my using a patch with this design to demonstrate sewing a patch onto a bag. A year has passed since … one in which I kept forgetting to make a pattern.
I shouldn’t have, for this design does something new: combining two pride flags in one patch. As long as both flags have five horizontal stripes and share a same-coloured third/centre stripe, you can set a rhombus in the stripes of one flag against a background in the stripes of another. This small pattern is also easy to stitch up: no quarter stitches, lettering or zigzagging!
You’ll need familiarity with cross stitch (full crosses) to make raw-edged patches, along with a buttonhole/closed blanket stitch (or a neat over stitch) to make the closed-edged patch above. The first instalment of my patch tutorial series demonstrates cross and blanket/buttonhole stitch; it should be read by beginners as an introduction to materials and processes.
How (Not) to Ally is a series discussing the supportive content made by well-meaning asexual allies to allo-aros–and why some approaches still fail to recognise, promote, welcome, protect and include us.
It’s now not uncommon to see alloromantic allies asking questions about how best to write (or not write) aro characters. It’s also not uncommon, in response to open questions or in discussing a-spec and/or aro representation, to see not-allosexual aros and alloromantic asexuals reference allo-aros in their answers. Writers should include and depict a diversity of aros in their works, so we do need our asexual kin to remember us!
Unfortunately, most discussions argue that good allo-aro representation encompasses the following:
Sex occurring in the context of close, intimate, “serious” relationships or partnerships
Emphasis on monogamy or exclusivity
Idealised, non-harmful depictions of sexual relationships
Emphasis on possession of meaningful, intimate bonds with other people
Capacity and desire for friendship and emotional intimacy
Emphasis on ability to love and experiencing love for others
Focusing on non-sexual thoughts and experiences
Avoidance of sexualisation
Emphasis on healthiness and “wholeness”
When I look upon such lists, all I know is this: they do not include me.
I have patterns I created for testing my new pattern template, patches I made but didn’t post about, patches I sewed onto my pride patch jacket but missed out on becoming tutorials, and patches discussed in previous tutorials that I mean to make for myself. It felt like time to make a post!
Folks who wish to find all my text patterns without having to scroll through tutorials and explanations can do so on my new text patch master page. Patterns are listed in alphabetical order (with my alphabet patterns at the end), while all sub-headers link to the tutorial posts featuring said pattern.
Please note that this post does not include photos of the other patches. They either don’t yet exist or were made as gifts by someone who forgot to first take a photo…