When I decided to take up quilting, I had the misconception that sewing together the scraps of fabric into pretty geometric designs was pretty much all there was to quilting. It turns out this process is called 'piecing', and it's only one part of the project (and not even a necessary part).
The actual 'quilting' part is stitching together a sandwich of batting between two pieces of fabric. I had considered this a relatively insignificant "finishing up" stage of making a quilt, but this stitching can be very elaborate and is an art of it's own. Most importantly, you can do it badly, and after you've spent so much time piecing together an elaborate top, you don't want to mess it up by doing an ugly stitching job on top of it.
Although the top piece of a quilt is almost always pieced together from scraps of fabric, it doesn't have to be. Whole cloth quilting uses one solid fabric for the top and is usually used to showcase fancy stitching.
But the stitching job doesn't have to be elaborate either; the most basic quilting pattern is called channel quilting which is just straight parallel lines.
Although channel quilting and/or whole cloth quilts are quite common (most store-bought bedspreads and sleeping bags are just that), it's not what most people think of when they think of a quilt; like me, most people think of a pieced top when they think of a quilt.
So for my first quilting project, I decided to start with simplest project I could conceive of: a whole cloth channel quilted pot holder.
It's not particularly pretty, but it wasn't intended to be. It does hold pots.
I figured it wouldn't be hard to eye-ball parallel lines, so I didn't bother with guidelines. When I noticed I was way off, I tried to compensate, and only made it worse.
The fabric also puckered a little. I will probably invest in a walking foot for my sewing machine to prevent that.
The binding was hard to do, and I don't like the way it looks; hopefully this improves with repetition.