Embroidery Kit Makeover: Allo-Aro Flowers

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.

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.

A bamboo embroidery hoop sitting on a blue microfibre blanket. The hoop is filled with cream cloth featuring a garland of assorted flowers and leaves around the centre-positioned text "be kind". The text is written in a loose, handdrawn type and backstitched in green. The leaves and stems are stitched in green, aqua or light blue, and feature a variety of black, chain, split, straight and satin stitches. The flowers are stitched in white, gold, yellow and dark pink, and feature a variety of chain, satin, straight, woven wheel and god's eye stitches. Small seed beads in pink, gold and aqua fill the centres of some flowers. All colours used in the piece are taken from @neopronouns's allosexual aromantic-spectrum flag.
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Embroidery Kit Makeover: Idemro Best Self

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’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?

A bamboo embroidery hoop sitting on a blue microfibre blanket. The hoop is filled with cream cloth featuring the text "be your best self" with each word satin stitched in grey, mint, white and pink taken from the idemromantic pride flag. Each word is outlined by back stitch in a slightly darker or lighter shade of grey, mint, white and pink, and given a three-dimensional/shadow effect via more black satin stitch.
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Embroidery Kit Makeover: Nebularo Rainbow

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.

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.

A bamboo embroidery hoop sitting on a blue microfibre blanket. The hoop is filled with cream cloth featuring a rainbow comprising seven separated layers. The centre/innermost layer is a cobalt satin stitched oval, followed by two satin stitched arches in medium and bright blue (each bigger than the previous). A centre arch comprised of circles edged in back stitch is sewn in white, followed by two more satin stitched arches in pink and pink-red. The final/uppermost layer, shaped like an arch surrounding the rainbow, is formed of long clusters of stitches like a sunburst. All colours used in the piece are from the nebularomantic flag.

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!

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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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