Thanks for all your input on the machine quilting/hand embellishment question for this quilt. Machine quilting was the runaway winner, but the idea of adding a little handwork afterward was also suggested and I like the sound of that very much...so that is what I will (eventually) do.
Here's a little series of photos that show another piecing strategy I used along the way.
If I have an area where I know I want to include certain fabrics in a particular scale of shapes (that makes sense, right?), I will lay them all out puzzle-like first, then figure out how to sew them all together.
This is the bottom of the right side dark bar. I wanted to use these farics to mimic the opposite corner in the quilt, the top of the left side bar. (It's a compositional thing.) So I freeform cut out all the pieces, making sure to oversize them to account for seam allowances, and laid them out over the muslin foundation.
It was a fairly logical progression, sewing them together....
...making bigger and bigger "chunks". You'll notice I did have to add that pink shape on the left, as I had not left enough room for seam allowances after all!
Sorry about the difference in lighting here.
I also added that tan cotton on the left, as the maroon shape above it was too large. (Yes, I just slapped it over the maroon--did not rip out or cut anything....!)
And here is everthing pinned up on the wall together, as of this morning.
I am really quite pleased with it!
I may tweak a few things after this sets awhile, though. Some of that pink is pretty bright.
Now I have to spend some hours restoring sanity to my sewing room...and then I am going to wait to sew this together until some ribbon arrives from my friend Kerri, who kindly offered to send some that she thought would be good to help edge the bars.
So this project will sit for a week or so...and I have a little traveling to do in the meantime.
But I do hope to play with all the little shards of fabric that piled up in the process of piecing this quilt before I leave, crumb piecing them together for a matching pillow top. Hope to post that in a few days...