I’ll admit it: I’m not a fan of generic positivity. Maybe I am a bitter, loveless aro … and maybe I’m a disabled person who’s tired of how the ableds implore me to “look on the bright side” and “be grateful it isn’t worse”. Either way, in my opinion, there’s a special place in hell reserved for whomever first uttered the words “live, laugh, love”!
Given that such phrases aren’t to my taste, I hadn’t planned on stitching this kit … until I saw them on clearance for $2 AUD. Why not practice my satin stitch by giving one an idemromantic makeover during Victoria’s fifth lockdown?
Getting to Be takes place some days after Men Bound by Blood but, due to change of narrator, can (probably) be readwith no prior knowledge ofthe first three stories. Readers should note, however, that this piece isn’t a stand-alone. In other words: many questions are raised, few are answered.
Content Advisory: References to classism; references to misogyny, cissexism, and heterosexism; casual references to sex and sexual attraction; casual references to romance, kissing and dating; vague/veiled/non-specific references to self-harm; casual references to blood, death, necromancy and decomposition.
I thought I’d continue the Pride Month theme by expanding my library of patterns to encompass non-aromantic identities. Alas, this isn’t a fully-inclusive collection! Many identities require letters not yet designed, as I’ve completed only one of my patch pattern alphabets. While today’s patterns do use some new or modified letters, time constraints meant that I chose identities with simpler-for-me names.
Additional queer, polysexual, asexual and bisexual text patch patterns–along with a lower-case alphabet that can be adapted to any horizontal, five-striped pride flag–are available at my patch pattern gallery. Folks wishing “genderfluid” or “omnisexual” patches can use this alphabet to create their own patterns by following my tutorial. I also have several aromantic-spectrum text patterns, many of which can be adapted for asexual spectrum identities.
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.
Between chronic pain and familial goings-on, I haven’t had the time or spoons I need for writing. I do have a little something to show off, however: another aromanticised embroidery kit!
(“Aromanticised” is a word, I swear.)
K-Mart’s rainbow-themed embroidery kit all but demands a queer makeover. I mean … rainbow, right? After pondering a wealth of options, I chose the nebularomantic flag because the printed design accommodates a seven stripe flag without my repeating colours or making major modifications.
My satin stitch is improving! I am not good at starting and finishing stitches in the same place, but the odd instances of poking-out stitches don’t much distract from the finished design. The main problem is that unneven maroon-coloured “starburst-style” cluster (a few stitches sewn together) on the left-hand side of the rainbow. When sewing the red-pink stripe, distracted by TV, I pulled a section of my stitches taut against the fabric. This tugged the fabric above that section out of place. Tension is a demanding mistress, but I will learn to respect her!
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:
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.
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.