The next step was to put together a piece of fabric for the back and tape it to the floor, followed by some batting and my quilt top. Then I used about 500 safety pins to keep all of the layers together.
Look at the ocean of safety pins! My first mistake was trying to do this on the floor. Hard on the knees, hard on the back, hard to keep the kitty away, and hard not to walk on the quilt to get from one side of the room to the other for the whole week that this was taped to the floor.
Mistake #2 was using so many @$%# safety pins placed completely at random. Since I'd never sewn a quilt together before, it never occurred to me that the placement of the pins was so important. I knew I'd have to remove them as I went along, but at the time that didn't seem as difficult as it actually turned out to be.
Mistake #3 was believing that sewing straight lines every 1.5" over the entire surface would be the fastest way to quilt this. It took forever! The guide on my walking foot did nothing to help keep the lines straight or evenly spaced, so I had to give up on that and use masking tape. This means that after every single line of sewing, I had to take the whole thing out of the machine, lay it back on the floor, remove all of the pins in the next 2" and then lay down a piece of masking tape for the next straight line. Crazy!
I now know that if you're going to quilt straight lines, you should arrange your pins in straight lines too so that you can sew between the rows. I also know that you don't really need 500 pins. And most of all, I know that free motion quilting is inevitably going to be quicker.
I have admit though that the lines look great! They're neither straight nor evenly spaced, but you really can't tell when looking at the finished blanket. No one is ever going to be looking at it that hard anyway. Here is a close up of the lines on the front and back:
The blanket is warm and cozy, I'm really happy with it! It has also passed inspection by my toughest critic. Here is a bonus shot of said inspection: