The first thing I do is lay out the back of the quilt. I live in an apartment and I use the linoleum floor and I use masking tape to tape it down. Makes it a lot easier to NOT have the quilt moving around when you pin it.
Next the batting on top. And if you have a super fluffy cat named Smudge, he helps with this process.
Anyways, if you get the cat off it eventually, you smooth the batting out like so:
So now comes the fun part, you put the top of the quilt down and smooth it out again. Now it's time to pin. I might overpin in some people's opinions, but for machine quilting, I find it so helpful to have that many pins.
Smudge thinks he's helping again. In typical cat attitude, he appears to be ignoring me!
A good way to figure out what thread is good for quilting, you can pool it on the quilt and see how it looks. This is a blue and brown sulky variegated thread.
In the middle of pinning:
Close up of how close I pin. I usually do about 2" apart, but it kinda varies, I just put lots of pins to keep everything flat and held together.
Finally, all the way pinned. Takes at least an hour and I don't want to even think about the number of pins that I put in this quilt. This is only a small baby quilt so I didn't use all my pins.
Now I get to decide how to quilt it. I'm leaning toward a loose stipple. Loose in the sense that it's not super close together.