Pride Month Patch Tutorial: Pride Hearts

Six handsewn cross stitch 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 aromantic and allo-aro in zigzag patterns, nebulaquoi and arovague in plain stripes, a text patch reading Allo Aro and an arrow design in allo-aro colours.

In honour of Pride Month, I thought I’d offer patches applicable for the wider LGBTQIA+ and queer communities. This tutorial showcases the steps for making a heart-shaped patch, with patterns available for flags with three, four, five, six, seven, eight, nine and ten evenly-spaced horizontal stripes. Folks who want to emphasis love as an element in their identity can sew the hearts in the traditional upwards-facing orientation, while aros like me, who like to de-centre the role of love in my pride, can sew them upside down.

A photo, taken on a blue microfibre blanket, of the rainbow pride flag, Sullivans embroidery floss in the same colours and laid out in rainbow order, and an assortment of pride-themed cross stitched heart patches, all with borders in thick buttonhole stitch, open blanket stitch or dyed aida. Hearts shown, sewn both upside down and rightside up, include rainbow, aro, allo-aro, abro, agender, pan, p(o)ly, trans, non-binary and idemromantic flags.

You’ll need familiarity with cross stitch (full and quarter crosses) and backstitch to make the unedged patches, along with a buttonhole/closed blanket stitch (or a neat over stitch) to make the edged patch. The first instalment of this patch tutorial series demonstrates cross and blanket/buttonhole stitch, while the second covers backstitch. If you’re new to embroidery or needlecraft, I recommend completing the first tutorial–a simple square patch–before attempting the heart. The shape isn’t complex, but it does require sewing along curves.

Continue reading “Pride Month Patch Tutorial: Pride Hearts”

Pride Patch Tutorial: Aro Arrows

Six handsewn cross stitch 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 aromantic and allo-aro in zigzag patterns, nebulaquoi and arovague in plain stripes, a text patch reading Allo Aro and an arrow design in allo-aro 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.

Patch Patterns and Stripe Modifications

The five-stripe arrow pattern is a rectangle 62 stitches wide and 17 stitches high. Assuming a three stitch border, as for my other patches, this means you’ll want a 65 x 20 block swatch plus any excess (if used unmodified).

A cross stitch pattern for an arrow design with an elongated triangle arrowhead in grey, a tan shaft, aromantic pride flag fletching and a pale green background. Outline stitching in a dark grey frames the arrowhead, with ligher grey lines of back stitching running down the head; the tan shaft is framed in a darker tan; and green stitches outline the fletching.

Continue reading “Pride Patch Tutorial: Aro Arrows”

Pride Patch Tutorial: Aro Text, Part Two

Six handsewn cross stitch 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 aromantic and allo-aro in zigzag patterns, nebulaquoi and arovague in plain stripes, a text patch reading Allo Aro and an arrow design in allo-aro colours.

Part two provides the patterns for four and five-stripe “aroace” text patch designs and a four-stripe “aro” design.

For a complete guide to the stitching process, please see part one, where I’ve posted step-by-step instructions with my “aro” patch as an example. Other than factoring in differing sizes of aida swatches and floss colours, there is no change in the sewing process. All patterns can be similarly modified in terms of letter spacing, use of quarter stitches and layout.

As a bonus, I’ve also provided four and five stripe “ace” patterns!

Aro Patch Patterns

The four-stripe “aro” pattern is a rectangle 35 stitches wide and 16 stitches high. Assuming a three stitch border, as for my other patches, this means you’ll want a 38 x 19 block swatch plus any excess (if used unmodified).

Cross stitch pattern with the text aro in block lettering, striped in the colours of the old green/yellow/orange/black aro flag, on a mint background.

Continue reading “Pride Patch Tutorial: Aro Text, Part Two”

Pride Patch Tutorial: Aro Text, Part One

Six handsewn cross stitch 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 aromantic and allo-aro in zigzag patterns, nebulaquoi and arovague in plain stripes, a text patch reading Allo Aro and an arrow design in allo-aro 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.

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. Some of these may require less work for adapting your preferred flag.

Please note that the “alloaro” text pattern makes for quite a long rectangle and will work best on satchel-type bags or the backs of jackets. I don’t recommend stitching it on 11-count fabric (as I did, see below) if you don’t want a massive patch!

Patch Patterns and Design

The five-stripe “aro” pattern is a rectangle 28 stitches wide and 14 stitches high. Assuming a three stitch border, as for my other patches, this means you’ll want a 31 x 17 block swatch plus any excess (if used unmodified).

Cross stitch pattern with the text aro in block lettering, striped in the colours of the dark green/light gren/white/grey/black aromantic flag, on a yellow background. Continue reading “Pride Patch Tutorial: Aro Text, Part One”

Pride Patch Tutorial: Zigzag Stripes

Six handsewn cross stitch 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 aromantic and allo-aro in zigzag patterns, nebulaquoi and arovague in plain stripes, a text patch reading Allo Aro and an arrow design in allo-aro 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.

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.

Structuring Your Zigzag Patch

This tutorial creates a horizontal zigzag or arrowhead shape three stitches high and five stitches wide, repeated six times across a rectangular patch. The arrowhead can be modified in height by increasing the width: a seven-stitch wide design will be five stitches high.

Stripe thickness is entirely optional. I often create three-line stripes, similar to my basic five-stripe flag designs, but I’ve also sewn patches with two and one-line stripes. If you want your patch to obviously represent a pride flag, you’re better to do two, three or more lines per colour without repetition. If you want a subtler or more abstract design, you may prefer to use one line per colour and repeat your flag’s colour pattern down the patch, as shown below:

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.

Continue reading “Pride Patch Tutorial: Zigzag Stripes”

Pride Patch Tutorial: Basic Stripes

Six handsewn cross stitch 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 aromantic and allo-aro in zigzag patterns, nebulaquoi and arovague in plain stripes, a text patch reading Allo Aro and an arrow design in allo-aro 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.

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.

Components

  • Photo of two sheets of white aida in 11 and 14 count, two pairs of small scissors, one embroidery needle, one tapestry needle, a 1.5 mm crochet hook, a red stitch ripper and embroidery floss arranged in the colours of the aromantic pride flag: dark green, light green, white, grey and black.Embroidery floss in the colours of your chosen flag
  • Embroidery floss in an additional matching or contrasting colour for the patch’s border
  • Aida fabric (11-count or 14-count is best)
  • Scissors (I use small embroidery scissors for trimming thread and a larger pair for cutting the aida)
  • Blunt-ended tapestry needle (see below for sizes)
  • Sharp-ended embroidery or chenille needle (of similar diameter or gauge to your tapestry needle)

Optional but Recommended:

  • Stitch ripper (for unpicking the inevitable mistakes)
  • Small crochet hook (I use a 1.5 mm hook from the dollar shop)
  • Fray Check, fabric stiffener or clear nail polish for coating edges, especially if your aida is prone to fraying (not pictured)

Continue reading “Pride Patch Tutorial: Basic Stripes”

Fiction: The Pride Conspiracy, Part Two

Banner image for The Pride Conspiracy. Banner features black handwritten type on a mottled green background with two green feathers and a black pencil. A translucent overlay of the dark green/light green/white/grey/black aromantic flag sits underneath the text. Text, feather and pencil images are boldly outlined in various shades of green and white.

December isn’t the best time of year for a trans aromantic like Rowan Ross, although—unlike his relatives—his co-workers probably won’t give him gift cards to women’s clothing shops. How does he explain to cis people that while golf balls don’t trigger his dysphoria, he wants to be seen as more than a masculine stereotype? Nonetheless, he thinks he has this teeth-gritted endurance thing figured out: cissexism means he needn’t fear his relatives asking him about dating, and he has the perfect idea for Melanie in the office gift exchange. He can survive gifts and kin, right? Isn’t playing along with expectation better than enduring unexpected consequences?

Rowan, however, isn’t the only aromantic in the office planning to surprise a co-worker. To survive the onslaught of ribbon and cellophane, Rowan’s going to have to get comfortable with embracing the unknown.

Contains: A trans allo-frayro trying to grit his teeth through the holidays, scheming aro co-workers, a whole lot of cross-stitch, another moment of aromantic discovery, and many, many mugs.

Content Advisory: A story that focuses on some of the ways Western gift-giving culture enables cissexism and a rigid gender binary, taking place in the context of commercialised, secular-but-with-very-Christian-underpinnings Christmas. Please expect many references to said holiday in an office where Damien hasn’t figured out how to run a gift exchange without subjecting everyone to Santa, along with characters who have work to do in recognising that not everybody celebrates Christmas.

There are no depictions or mentions of sexual attraction beyond the words “allosexual” and “bisexual” and a passing reference to allo-aro antagonism, but there are non-detailed references to Rowan’s previous experiences with and attitudes towards romance and romantic attraction as a frayromantic. Please also expect casual references to amatonormativity and other shapes of cissexism.

This section contains multiple depictions of platonic physical intimacy.

Links: PDF, EPUB and MOBI editions are available for download from Patreon.

Length: 4, 789 words (part two of two)

I’ll have a pride coat! And nobody will have the least idea what it means!

Continue reading “Fiction: The Pride Conspiracy, Part Two”

Fiction: The Pride Conspiracy, Part One

Banner image for The Pride Conspiracy. Banner features black handwritten type on a mottled green background with two green feathers and a black pencil. A translucent overlay of the dark green/light green/white/grey/black aromantic flag sits underneath the text. Text, feather and pencil images are boldly outlined in various shades of green and white.

December isn’t the best time of year for a trans aromantic like Rowan Ross, although—unlike his relatives—his co-workers probably won’t give him gift cards to women’s clothing shops. How does he explain to cis people that while golf balls don’t trigger his dysphoria, he wants to be seen as more than a masculine stereotype? Nonetheless, he thinks he has this teeth-gritted endurance thing figured out: cissexism means he needn’t fear his relatives asking him about dating, and he has the perfect idea for Melanie in the office gift exchange. He can survive gifts and kin, right? Isn’t playing along with expectation better than enduring unexpected consequences?

Rowan, however, isn’t the only aromantic in the office planning to surprise a co-worker. To survive the onslaught of ribbon and cellophane, Rowan’s going to have to get comfortable with embracing the unknown.

Contains: A trans allo-frayro trying to grit his teeth through the holidays, scheming aro co-workers, a whole lot of cross-stitch, another moment of aromantic discovery, and many, many mugs.

Content Advisory: A story that focuses on some of the ways Western gift-giving culture enables cissexism and a rigid gender binary, taking place in the context of commercialised, secular-but-with-very-Christian-underpinnings Christmas. Please expect many references to said holiday in an office where Damien hasn’t figured out how to run a gift exchange without subjecting everyone to Santa, along with characters who have work to do in recognising that not everybody celebrates Christmas.

There are no depictions or mentions of sexual attraction beyond the words “allosexual” and “bisexual” and a passing reference to allo-aro antagonism, but there are non-detailed references to Rowan’s previous experiences with and attitudes towards romance and romantic attraction as a frayromantic. Please also expect casual references to amatonormativity and other shapes of cissexism.

Links: PDF, EPUB and MOBI editions are available for download from Patreon.

Length: 4, 914 words (part one of two).

Note: You’ll need to have read The Vampire Conspiracy for this to make sense. Available on WordPress or in PDF, EPUB and MOBI formats on Patreon!

Rowan should be assumed an Australian character in an Australian city. Our Christmas, therefore, involves hot weather, short sleeves, barbecues and confusion at certain holiday traditions common in the Northern Hemisphere.

They’re aromantic. How isn’t he obligated to help decorate her desk in as many pride-related ways as possible?

Continue reading “Fiction: The Pride Conspiracy, Part One”

When Quiver Meets Quill: Collected Aromantic Fiction

Banner image for When Quiver Meets Quill. Banner features black handwritten type on a mottled green background with two green feathers and a black pencil. A translucent overlay of the dark green/light green/white/grey/black aromantic flag sits underneath the text. Text, feather and pencil images are boldly outlined in various shades of green and white.

Cover image for When Quiver Meets Quill: Collected Aromantic Fiction by K. A. Cook. Cover depicts a frame border in the stripes of the aromantic pride flag against a mottled green background, title text arranged around images of pencils and feathers. Text is in black handdrawn type outlined in different shades of greens, greys and whites.Jessie’s casing an art gallery affords an opportunity to discuss a queerplatonic relationship. The phrase “I don’t love” encompasses more than a prince’s lack of romantic attraction. A gay aromantic makes a game of his alloromantic co-workers’ inability to accept him. Alida finds an accomplice in petty revenge after hir friend sets hir up on a date. An aro-ace wanderer invents their own fairy tales free of weddings as a happily ever after. And a demiromantic witch learns about aromanticism from her allo-aro cousin after an escapade with an unwanted romantic admirer.

When Quiver Meets Quill collects fourteen fantasy and contemporary aromantic stories about amatonormativity, friendship and connection.

Contains: Asexual aros; allosexual aros; aros without reference to sexual attraction identities; transgender and non-binary aros; queer aros; autistic aros; neurodiverse aros; and a genderless aro dragon.

Links: PDF (read in browser) | Patreon

PDF, EPUB and MOBI editions are available for download from Patreon.

Length: 45, 000 words / 149 PDF pages.

Continue reading “When Quiver Meets Quill: Collected Aromantic Fiction”

Fiction: The Vampire Conundrum, Part Two

Banner image for The Vampire Conundrum. Banner features black handwritten type on a mottled green background with two green feathers and a black pencil. A translucent overlay of the dark green/light green/white/grey/black aromantic flag sits underneath the text. Text, feather and pencil images are boldly outlined in various shades of green and white.

When Rowan Ross is pressured into placing an aromantic pride mug on his desk, he doesn’t know how to react when his co-workers don’t notice it. Don’t they realise he spent a weekend rehearsing answers for questions unasked? Then again, if nobody knows what aromanticism is, can’t he display a growing collection of pride merch without a repeat of his coming out as trans? Be visible with impunity through their ignorance?

He can endure their thinking him a fan of archery, comic-book superheroes and glittery vampire movies. It’s not like anyone in the office is an archer. (Are they?) But when a patch on his bag results in a massive misconception, correcting it means doing the one thing he most fears: making a scene.

After all, his name isn’t Aro.

Contains: One trans, bisexual frayromantic alongside an office of well-meaning cis co-workers who think they’re being supportive and inclusive.

Content Advisory: This story hinges on the way most cishet alloromantic people know nothing about aromanticism and the ways many trans-accepting cis people fail to best communicate their acceptance. In other words, expect a series of queer, trans and aro microaggressions. There are no depictions or mentions of sexual attraction beyond the words “allosexual” and “bisexual”, but there are non-detailed references to Rowan’s previous experiences with romance.

Links: PDF, EPUB and MOBI editions are available for download from Patreon.

Length: 3, 737 words (part two of two).

Romance, too, feels like one of the mechanisms by which a dangerous trans body can be rendered more acceptable to cis folks.

Continue reading “Fiction: The Vampire Conundrum, Part Two”