I see a lot of people saying they would like to quilt but are not sure how to do it. I'll leave it to you to figure out the top, but here are some basic instructions for making your quilt.
A quilt is like a sandwich, it has a layer of backing fabric, a layer of batting, and a layer of top fabric, your 'quilt top' if you will. Once you have your fabric and your backing fabric, you need batting. If you can, purchase good batting from a quilt shop. Polyester is fine, but that Mountain Mist stuff you can buy at Wal-Mart is not the best stuff. It is difficult to work with. Usually a good twin size batting from a quilt shop will cost about $12 so it is not a lot more money, but a lot better quality.
Spread your backing fabric out on a card table or dining room table. Be aware that when you are pinning you may prick the top of the table a bit, so put something on the table if it is your heirloom dining room table! Put the batting over it. Then put your quilt top on top. The batting and backing fabric should extend at least 3 inches or so from the edge of your quilt. As you quilt the fabric may scrunch in, and you don't want to 'lose' the edge of your backing or your batting.
Pull it pretty taut using those huge 'bulldog' clips from the office supply store (clip them right on the edge of the table) or a couple of friends can hold it down. Pin through all three layers with safety pins. Do not skimp on the safety pins!
Once your entire quilt is pinned, then you have a couple of options for quilting on your sewing machine. One is to use a 'walking foot' which holds all three layers together while you sew to minimize scrunchage. You can sew in any configuration of straight lines with your walking foot. Up and down, diagonal, big x's, whatever you like. This is the 'basic' quilting form.
Another option is a 'darning' or 'free motion' foot. This is a little sewing machine foot that is straight up and down with a little hole in it. Drop the feed dogs on the machine when using a darning foot. You will move the fabric along. This is my favorite form of quilting. You just make squiggly lines. You can squiggle close, you can squiggle far away. You can squiggle in lines or just in a random pattern. You can write your name or make big swirls or whatever. It is incredibly relaxing and fun like finger painting.
When quilting your quilt (it doesn't matter as much for just sewing together the pieces) it is best to use actual quilting thread. It costs a touch more but it is worth it. It is stronger and made of better materials. Most traditional quilters use a quilting thread that matches their quilt, but you don't have to do that. Quilt a dark quilt with white thread or vice versa for an interesting effect. There are also metallic threads which are fun to use and add a subtle sparkle to your quilt. One thing you may want to do is use a colored thread for your top thread and use a thread that matches the backing for your bobbin thread. Then the stitches will disappear on the bottom, but stand out on the top.
For putting the binding on the quilt, pick up a Fons & Porters Perfect Binding Card. This little card has all the information you will need to bind your quilt and finish it off.
Hopefully this helps. It is not really hard to quilt but there are so many different 'schools of thought' and instructions out there, it is difficult to sort through. These are very basic instructions that should be able to help any beginner.
Being new at quilting... so new that I haven't gathered the courage to even TRY it yet, your post was very, very informative!! Now I think I can grab some old stuff lying around here and just have at it.. if I mess up, I can always start over again, right? Thanks so much for your help!!!