next step was to pin the backing to the front/batting combination, with right sides together. once pinned, i sewed along the edges to create about a half-inch border. (because this was my first go-round at quilting, i decided to skip traditional binding...maybe next time!) i left a section unsewn to be able to flip the quilt so that the right sides were out - next time i would make sure not to leave that section right at a corner! - and then pinned that section and sewed it up.
unfortunately while i was pinning that, an uncapped pen decided to make its mark. an immediate dose of stain remover and a cold-wash cycle helped hide the worst of it, though!
my first thought was to do a zig-zag machine stitch along the seams to "quilt", but that quickly showed itself to be a no-go. the quilt was large enough to be unwieldy on the machine, and since i don't have a quilting foot, the traditional foot pushed the fabric so that it gathered unevenly at the end of each zig-zag segment. so i thought i would try hand-quilting along the seams. i spent a bit of time and managed to make my way through four and a half rows of basic stitching:
while i liked the look, eventually, i realized that this option wasn't going to work either - it was really slow going. while that normally wouldn't be an issue, i have a lot going on, and most of all i wanted this quilt completely done before i move. so i ripped it all out, grabbed some embroidery thread, picked two of the four fabrics and put a tie in the center of each square of those two fabrics.
in short order, i had my quilt! it's not perfect but it's cozy, home-made, and best of all, DONE.