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:

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Pride Patch Patterns: Inset Rhombus

Six digitally-created versions of cross stitch pride patches, arranged in two rows of three, against a background of a textured partially-translucent aromantic pride flag. Text between the two rows reads Aro Pride Patches in black type. Patches include a rectangular patch in aroflux zigzag stripes, an idemromantic heart, an aro flag text patch reading "aro", a square in quoiromantic stripes, an arrow design in allo-aro colours and a second arrow in nebularomantic colours.

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!

A square cross stich patch sitting on a blue microfibre blanket. The patch depicts the aro pride flag (green/light green/white/grey/black horizontal stripes) with a centre rhombus depicting the greysexual pride flag (purple/grey/white/grey/purple horizontal stripes) set so that both flags share the middle white stripe. The patch is edged with a thick buttonhole stitch in dark green.

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.

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Pride Patch Tutorial: Aro Arrows

Six digitally-created versions of cross stitch pride patches, arranged in two rows of three, against a background of a textured partially-translucent aromantic pride flag. Text between the two rows reads Aro Pride Patches in black type. Patches include a rectangular patch in aroflux zigzag stripes, an idemromantic heart, an aro flag text patch reading "aro", a square in quoiromantic stripes, an arrow design in allo-aro colours and a second arrow in nebularomantic colours.

This tutorial demonstrates my pride-striped arrow design with patterns for two variants and recommendations for further modifications. If you’re comfortable with the additional back stitching and detailing required for the aro text patches, the simpler versions of this design require no additional skills.

A collection of arrow patches, finished and in progress, sitting on a blue microfibre blanket. All patches have a grey triangular arrowhead, brown or tan shaft, and fletching coloured in the stripes of a pride flag. One rectangular patch has aromantic flag fletching on a light green-yellow background with a grass green border; one rectangular patch has allo-aro flag fletching on a light mint background with a darker mint border. One patch, unfinished with raw aida edges, has the nebularomantic flag on a purple background. The last patch, an allo-aro arrow, is cut around the shape of the arrow and finished in a thick white border.

The patterns given are for a five-stripe and seven-stripe flag. Because I rotated the flag in order to place it along the fletching, this pattern will accommodate any horizontally-striped pride flag. The flag will appear in the proper orientation if you sew the patch in a vertical position with the arrowhead pointing upwards.

This, like the “aroace” and “alloaro” text patches, makes for quite a long patch. I don’t recommend sewing it on 11-count aida if you wish more utility in terms of how you place it on a bag or garment.

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Pride Patch Tutorial: Aro Text, Part One

Six digitally-created versions of cross stitch pride patches, arranged in two rows of three, against a background of a textured partially-translucent aromantic pride flag. Text between the two rows reads Aro Pride Patches in black type. Patches include a rectangular patch in aroflux zigzag stripes, an idemromantic heart, an aro flag text patch reading "aro", a square in quoiromantic stripes, an arrow design in allo-aro colours and a second arrow in nebularomantic colours.

This tutorial demonstrates my “aro” text patch design, comprised of block letters filled in with pride flag stripes, and provides patterns for this and an “alloaro” text patch. You must be comfortable with the materials and processes involved in the basic stripes patch tutorial and the zigzag stripes tutorial (for the back stitching) before attempting this one.

If you’re not already familiar with them, I recommend practising quarter/three-quarter stitches on a scrap piece of aida (as it requires piercing a hole in the centre of the block). You can sew this pattern without using them, but I prefer the rounded look of the lettering over the blockish shape of traditional cross stitch.

Five cross-stitched patches sitting on a blue microfibre blanket. Each are a rectangle bearing text stitched in the flag coloured stripes against a solid-coloured background and a matching embroidered border. From top to bottom" "abro" in abro colours and block capitals with a dark purple background; "aro" in green/white aro flag colours and lower case letters with a yellow/gold background; "aro" in green/white aro flag colours and block capitals with a light green background; "alloaro" in yellow/gold allo-aro flag colours and block capitals with a mint background; and "aroace" in yellow/brown angled aro-ace block capitals with an olive background.

These patches are designed for a horizontal five-stripe pride flag. If you wish to make “aro” in the colours of a seven-stripe flag, you’ll need to redesign the letters if you wish each stripe to encompass an equal number of lines. You may prefer to use a different style and size of text instead: many cross stitch books have a section with text, and the Sullivans brand of aida fabric comes packaged with a pattern for cross stitching block-style text. I also have a number of text/letter patch patterns developed for flags with different stripe counts!

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Pride Patch Tutorial: Zigzag Stripes

Six digitally-created versions of cross stitch pride patches, arranged in two rows of three, against a background of a textured partially-translucent aromantic pride flag. Text between the two rows reads Aro Pride Patches in black type. Patches include a rectangular patch in aroflux zigzag stripes, an idemromantic heart, an aro flag text patch reading "aro", a square in quoiromantic stripes, an arrow design in allo-aro colours and a second arrow in nebularomantic colours.

This tutorial demonstrates my striped zigzag patch pattern, along with instructions for turning a patch into a badge/pin and sewing a patch to a bag or hat. You must be comfortable with the materials and processes involved in the basic stripes patch tutorial and before attempting this one.

In addition to cross, whip/over and blanket stitches, you’ll need to sew a back stitch. This is also covered in Red Ted Art’s video tutorial series.

Five handsewn cross stitch patches sitting on a blue microfibre blanket. Patches all feature a horizontal zigzag stripe pattern. Patches from top to bottom include: gay/rainbow/LGBTQIA+ with repeated stripes and a black border; pansexual with repeated stripes and a gold border; aromantic with repeated stripes and an olive border; aromantic with a purple border; and allo-aro with a red-orange border.

Like standard cross stitch, the zigzag patch operates on a line: I sew one half of the line from left to right before returning over the same row of stitches from right to left. Unlike standard cross stitch, I’m placing diagonal lines of back stitch to become the zigzag/arrowhead shapes of each row. These stitches will form crosses when adding lines of back stitch sewn in the reverse direction.

If you wish to turn your patches into badges/pins, I recommend using high-quality safety pins. Flimsy or easily-bent pins, like those found in most dollar shops, are not suitable. Safety pins are best sourced from a specialised sewing shop.

People who don’t want to sew can try a fabric bonding product like Peel N Stick to permanently attach a patch to a garment, bag or fabric lanyard.

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Pride Patch Tutorial: Basic Stripes

Six digitally-created versions of cross stitch pride patches, arranged in two rows of three, against a background of a textured partially-translucent aromantic pride flag. Text between the two rows reads Aro Pride Patches in black type. Patches include a rectangular patch in aroflux zigzag stripes, an idemromantic heart, an aro flag text patch reading "aro", a square in quoiromantic stripes, an arrow design in allo-aro colours and a second arrow in nebularomantic colours.

This is a tutorial for a cross-stitched pride-flag patch in a simple stripe design. Please first read the Beginner’s Guide at Red Gate Stitchery if you’re unfamiliar with cross stitch, as this tutorial is about the construction of the patches, not a comprehensive guide to cross stitch itself.

Six cross-stitched patches sitting on a blue microfibre blanket. Four are square-shaped simple horizontally-striped pride flags with a contrasting embroidered border: arovague (green/grey) with dark pink, autistic aro (reds/yellow/blues) with dark blue, nebularomantic (pinks/white/blues) with purple and allo-aro (greens/white/yellow/gold) with orange. Two are rectangles featuring the allo-aro flag and a light or peach pink border, with a small upside-down heart in the centre. One patch has the heart stitched in pansexual colours; the other has polysexual colours.

You’ll also need to know how to sew a closed blanket/buttonhole stitch or over/whip stitch. Either works, as long as you can keep each new stitch close beside the previous one. Red Ted Art has a series of videos on basic hand stitches, including over stitch and blanket stitch. My preference is for buttonhole stitch (a closed blanket stitch), as I sew through the twists/knots at the top of each stitch when attaching the patch to my bag.

I recommend practising your chosen stitch on the edges of scrap fabric before starting your first patch.

It should be noted that I am Australian, all items come from Australian vendors, and all prices cited are in AUD. Mentioned products/brands may not be available in your region.

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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.

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