What a beautiful piece! But, believe me, it was a challenge! Those blocks are 5 inches square exactly. There are 49 of them, alternating applique blocks with pieced blocks. And, most of the pieced versions are made up of lots of one-inch half square triangles! This must have taken a long time to accomplish.
Obviously, the tiny spaces in the backgrounds of the applique blocks had to be filled with a small, simple version of McTavishing. But, what about all those one-inch half square triangles?
I finally decided, after lots of sketching on top of printed photos of the blocks, to quilt down the background fabrics to let the colored fabrics pop up, just like they do in the applique blocks. I only quilted on the colored fabrics when the pieces were large and required it.
I used a combination of ribbon candy, Kim's loopy thang (no misspelling, that's what she calls it!), and occasionally a four- or 8- petal flower. I kept continuity by using ribbon candy in the border, matching the thread color.
Forget all the reasons why it won't work
and believe the one reason why it will!