I actually started quilting this a few weeks ago - I started out by ditch stitching around all the tiny diamonds in the centre block, and then matchstick quilted some of the white diamonds to make the birds pop. It's impossible to capture the texture in photographs, but this block feels amazing when you run your fingers across it. I didn't want to complicate the centre too much, so I free motion quilted straight lines radiating out, using the seams as a guide.
The half square triangle border is pretty simply quilted too - ditch stitched, and then straight lines through the lighter value HSTs. Up to this point, I thought I'd use Aurifil 50wt in Dove grey (my go-to quilting colour most of the time) for the whole thing. It blends beautifully into the soft grey Cotton and Steel crosses and contrasts just slightly with the white background.
Once I'd ditch stitched the next border however, I decided I wanted to start using coloured thread on the coloured sections. I'm being pretty careful about ditch stitching to keep this quilt square as I move out through the borders, not an easy feat on a quilt this size. Totally worth it though, as I'm removing most of the basting pins during the ditch stitching, which is freeing me up to go a little nuts with the more complex quilting. The other handy thing about having ditch stitched around each block is that I can quilt each of the colours (ie blue then pink then red etc) and only change threads between each colour, rather than between each block.
Once I'd finished quilting the strip border, I sat down and did a bit of sketching to figure out how to quilt the x plus blocks. One of my favorite parts of the border above are the quilted geese in the lowest border, so I decided to continue that theme by quilting geese into the 'x' parts of these blocks. I quilted out all of the 'background' first using dove grey thread, creating gems between the blocks. And now I'm going back to each block and quilting them with a coordinating colour. I've matched my thread colour to the middle value in each colour group - so it blends quite well into some of the colours, but contrasts with the lightest and darkest fabrics. A little bit scary (and requires a LOT of concentration), but totally worth it. I'm delighted with how this border is progressing. I'm not doing any marking for this either - I did for the first block and then realised I could do it by eye reasonably easily :o)
I'm not going to lie - this quilting is taking a looong time (around 30 minutes for each block), but I put so much time and effort into the piecing, I figure it's worth time and effort with the quilting. Quite a few people have commented about how much patience I must have - I guess I do, but I enjoy this kind of quilting so much and the result is absolutely worth it, I think! I will go back and quilt the skinny border before the x plus blocks too - I just haven't decided what to do yet.
I did want to clear up a few things in this post too - I've had a few no-reply commenters recently who assume I quilt on a long arm. I don't. All of this is done on my domestic Bernina. Yes it is hard on the shoulders, but I stretch a lot and take regular breaks. I'm a firm believer that it is possible to do pretty much anything on a domestic that you can on a long arm (except perhaps really large scale quilting where you just can't manipulate the quilt effectively or see where you need to go next). I'd still love a long arm one day, but I'm content with what I've got and I'm happy to work within the limits of a domestic machine.
Apologies for the epic and slightly preachy post, I hope you're all having a fabulous week!
PS Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday!!