Updated: Jun 9
I'm a custom quilting fanatic so I had a lot of fun planning out how to quilt the quilts in my Romeo Twins pattern. Both of these quits are very modern and abstract and this lends itself well to what I'll call "outside the lines" quilting. Rather than following the shapes and lines made by the blocks, you create your own shapes and motifs overtop of the piecing ignoring the seams to introduce a whole other layer of design. However, that kind of quilting isn't necessarily for everyone, so I'll present 3 options with varying difficulties to help spark some inspiration when deciding what to quilt for your own beautiful quilts.
Because both of these quilts are very abstract with both curved and straight lines, both Mercury and Mercutio lend themselves well to an edge-to-edge design. There are some beautiful alternative grid designs that can be done with a walking foot that will give the quilt an overall modern texture. If you're limited to a walking foot, here is what I would quilt:
This design is made up of 60 degree lines to make equilateral triangles all over the quilt. To add some additional density, bisect the triangles with an additional set of lines for a modern, interesting alternative grid design. The points where all the lines come together will not line up with any of the seams on the quilts and this adds an extra layer of randomness to the quilt design.
The Basic Free Motion
If you're comfortable doing some basic free-motion quilting but don't want the quilting design to get too dense, some abstract circles are a great option. The easiest way to make circles on a quilt with a domestic machine is using a ruler. This one (not an affiliate link) is my favorite domestic circle ruler (unfortunately it doesn't work very well on a long-arm though). If you're comfortable doing basic free motion quilting, give some basic ruler quilting a try, it is way easier than it looks and there are lots of free tutorials available on Youtube. All you need to be able to do is be somewhat comfortable getting consistent free-motion stitches; you don't need to know any designs. Ruler quilting takes the "Wait, where do I go next?" and "Crap! That line is really wonky!" out of free-motion quilting until you get more comfortable. It's like training wheels for domestic free motion quilting.
To make the abstract circles design, just stitch circles of random sizes with random centers all over your quilt until the density reaches at least that called for by your batting. No planning or marking is needed. I find this turns out best when you never use the same center point twice. and constantly vary the size. Anywhere from 2 inches to 12 inches in diameter works great! (i.e. Just use whatever ruler you have on hand, You don't need a full set.) Let the circles overlap, crisscross, etc, until you're happy with the design. It looks beautiful on almost any modern design, but especially Mercutio and Mercury with their curved and straight edges.
If you're ready to go full custom, there are a couple of options. If you're comfortable just doodling; mixing motifs and designs seamlessly across the quilt a la graffiti quilting (not an affiliate link) style, go for it! Both designs would look awesome with that kind of quilting. However, like many quilters, am a bit intimidated by that at this point in my quilting journey. To help overcome that intimidation, the best approach is to break your quilt area down into smaller chunks.
I chose to do this by building upon the abstract circles design from earlier. The shapes made from randomly overlapping circles of different diameters makes the perfect set of manageable abstract shapes with which to fill with any motifs I choose. However, if you don't want to go the circle option, using a straight edge ruler to make large, random triangles accomplishes the same thing. The whole point of this is just to create manageable sections across the quilt.
First, I used my longarm quilting templates (not an affiliate link) to stitch circles randomly all over the quilt just like before. After that was done, I picked shapes to fill with motifs that I know. Any motif will work. The only rule is that once I pick a shape, I fill it with only one motif and this makes the process much more approachable. I stitched low-density designs next to higher density designs to create contrast in texture and left plenty of areas unquilted to give dimension. If you're drawing a blank when it comes to choosing the next motif, assign the motifs you know numbers and use dice to randomly pick from those motifs.
The effect is gorgeous (if I do say so myself) and perfectly complements the abstract designs in either Mercutio or Mercury.
While I've shown all of these design ideas on Mercury only, they each work equally well on Mercutio as well. However, I decided to do so something slightly different for my Mercutio quilt because I really wanted the piecing design to stand out. I chose to use my Honeycomb ruler from Sew Steady (not an affiliate link) to make a beautiful, all-over texture through medallion shapes placed randomly all over the quilt.
A Note about Thread
Because of the background-ombre color palette of these quilts, it's unlikely that you're going to be able to find just 1-2 thread colors that will blend across all the fabrics. (There was absolutely no way that was going to happen for my color choices anyways.) If you don't want to just go bold and use a contrasting thread, you basically have two options: (1) use invisible thread, i.e. clear monopoly. Or (2) use very fine polyester thread in a light color. I've never used monopoly thread myself and I didn't want to go out and buy some specifically for this project, so I went with option 2. I used off-white Invisifil by Wonderfil Specialty threads (not an affiliate link). This is a 100 wt polyester thread that I keep on hand for paper piecing. It's so thin that even though it's a white thread, you can barely tell it's there, even on the dark colors. It takes a little bit of tension adjustment, but I've never run into major issues with it on either my longarm or my domestic machines even though it's so fine. The result is beautiful! One thread color for the entire quilt and no breaking thread to change colors. The added bonus is that it also hides a lot of mistakes because it's such a fine thread. If you haven't given 80 wt or 100 wt threads a try for quilting, you definitely should!