I finally down-selected to meandering and would address the scale issue by doing smaller meandering in the side bars and larger meandering in the center of each block. I realized the scale issue was dominated more by the area of the block to fill rather than the scale of the print.
I called on Sunday to confirm my Monday rental time on the long arm. I was told its stitch regulator was not working but I would be fine just keeping a steady pace. Everything else was in working order since it had just returned from being serviced. Being fairly new at this FMQing, I'd wanted the regulated stitch size option. But then again a 60" x 70" top is not that easy to do on a domestic sewing machine. Maybe I could just be "slow and steady" since I was doing a meander and not trying to follow specific lines. I really waffled over keeping the time slot. I decided to keep it and even brought along my handy-dandy loading diagram to help me be a bit more independent at the start. Loading the quilt took over an hour and a half, but, because I am inexperienced, that part was expected.
After that, things did not go well. A new clerk and I were equally ignorant, so the bobbins for the wrong machine were wound and they needed to be rewound on the correct bobbins. And as for "slow and steady" part... ? Apparently that was not an option. The 50% speed, the lowest the shop owner recommended I go, was way faster than I was comfortable with. It did not give me time to think but I was beginning to manage. I'd done one row of five blocks and advanced the quilt. I was on my second block in my second of six rows and the needle broke. Staff helped me replace the needle and I had to take time to pick out a large rats nest of snarls in the region where it had broken. When I tried out the new needle (off to the side of my quilt, fortunately) it did not feel "right" and so I asked staff to check it out and they broke a second needle. Although they assured me it was minor timing issue, I removed my quilt from the machine and decided to finish it at home. When I left, they had all three poles from the machine removed so they could turn the head on its side to work on it. It was already mid-afternoon and I had barely one-sixth of the quilt completed. It was time to go home and regroup.
The following day, I contemplated my path forward. I reassembled the quilt sandwich and safety pin basted it. Though I normally spray baste, that was problematic with a partially quilted top. At my daughter's suggestion I googled and I looked into some YouTube videos on "skinning" a quilt. I found it to be an interesting approach to remove stitching but decided not to try it. I would just continue quilting and re-evaluate stitch removal at a later time. Fortunately I'd had the presence of mind to take the same thread with me for use at home. This size spool does not fit on my Pfaff. Again my daughter to the rescue. She and her husband had gifted me this cool flower thread feeder a few Christmases ago so it got pressed into service.
This morning I had all the pieces in place – realignment, basting, thread, to rip out or not to rip out – and I was refreshed, so I started to FMQ it on my Pfaff. I completed the second row of blocks. In the next picture the top two blocks are from the first row and were quilted on the longarm. The bottom right block is from the second row and was quilted on my domestic Pfaff. All this fuss and the quilting in the blocks really does not show that much.
The lower left block was quilted in part on each of the two machines. Here is a closeup. The top brown band was two-thirds longarm. The rest is my trusty Pfaff.