Should I or shouldn't I? The safe bet was to do nothing, but I didn't feel like being safe. I wanted to add a little stitching along the edge of the fused center square. My sewing machine has minimal embroidery stitches by most standards, and still far more than I ever use. I had it in my head that #40 on the second row would give the jagged look I wanted, even though I had vague memory of thinking the same before and ditching it for another stitch. #41 turned out to be the ticket, although not at default stitch and width it turned out, and not without trying other options first. (Click on any photo for a larger view.)
When in doubt, stitch it out. I started with the short sample on top and right away, my chosen stitch was too dense and didn't look all that jagged. I also tried numbers 17 through 20, this time remembering I could fiddle with changing the default settings. Everything looked too regimented or too dense, until I went back to #41 and experimented with stretching it out. Oooo - onto something there! So I started stitching it out on a longer strip, inking the settings on the fabric with each change.
I'd already done the "visualizing" stare-down with Leaf Cluster VII on the design wall, and knew I needed those samples up there to aid in my visualizations. That's how I came to a fairly quick conclusion that nothing on the first sample was right. Now it was a matter of deciding which of the settings for #41 would do what I wanted, if any of them would. As I sat pondering it on the wall, I actually said out loud, "Come on, Wild Woman. Where are you when I need you?" It would have been very easy to back out at that point, but the Wild Woman in a bottle said, "Oh for Pete's sake. GO for it!" She even allowed me a minute to apply some design logic to the choice, just to make me a little more comfortable.
That logic was one of repeating a motif or shape throughout a design. As I studied the quilt and the stitches, I saw the similarity in the pointy shapes the stitch pattern made to the bits of cutaway texture from the stamp that had printed here and there, and the pointy ends of the diamonds in the border fabric. It all went together.
It's a subtle addition, that round of jagged stitching. It would have been fine without it, I think, but if I'm not going to try out things in the course of finishing up the leaf clusters already printed, where will I? This will have about a half inch trimmed off all around for it to fit in a 14 inch square metal frame. When I use this kind of frame, I usually attach the quilt to a piece of foam core board, but wouldn't you know it, the leftovers on hand are not big enough and I don't have another full-size board in the closet. Luckily, an office supply store is minutes away. I'm moving along with less dilly dallying over details and options it would seem, and thus with less anxiety. But Tick Tock, exhibit deadline is not far off so must stay focused. Which made this recent cartoon in my newspaper so apropos.