I begin in the middle of the quilt.. The word PANAMA. I'm using a 30wt Sulky thread with monofilament in the bobbin... 0 top tension thread pull. The goal here is to just get the letters quilted without creating a distracting quilting pattern within the letters. A small meander works just fine for me.
I begin each letter by outlining a straight stitch on the perimeter... then meandering within.
You may note I have a subtle rust laid over yellow at the outer edges of each letter. In days gone by, I might have changed threads for that area, but I have come to learn it's neither necessary or even helpful as a thread color change would draw attention to the quilting in the darker value areas.
I think you can still adequately detect the value changes made in the ink work. It looks fine to me. As soon as the whole word is quilted ...we'll begin on the sky, the most time consuming of all.