Attempt #2 is going way better. First off, I discovered that cutting the applique out using very small snips and only the tips of the scissors gives more precise results and is easier on one's hand and arm as well. Second, I'm only using the hand wheel this time. Yes, even for the long lines. I'd rather spend a couple of extra hours on each piece and get better results. The one mistake I made was not nuking the applique firmly enough, so a bit of the center bottom "fountain" motif shifted and one side is thinner than the other. I also had some trouble negotiating the curves on that part, so there's slight irregularity and an extra line of stitches on a small section of a curve. Again, this is going on the back of the sash and it's a minor mistake that doesn't look obvious from a normal viewing distance, so whatever. My next attempts at tight curve stitching after those look much better already, so I'm confident that the rest of my sewing will turn out well.
And I am keeping track of time spent on this one too. Thus far: 1:50. I'll probably need 6 more hours to finish it. My goal is to spend two hours on embroidery every night. I have to break it up into half hour chunks, otherwise my eyes start to hate me. Maybe I should see if I can get a pair of magnifying glasses or something.