Not because I think I am an expert or anything, this is just what I found works well for me.
I quilt with the pieced side up...not the back...that way I can try to sew across as many fabric intersections as possible, because those areas are thicker and sometimes tend to pouf up...plus I think doing that makes a stronger quilt.
I choose a spot near the center and just start quilting out toward one of the sides. when I get to the edge, I go back and start from that same starting point and go toward the opposite side...continuing until I have a "plus sign" area of quilting with 4 quadrants left to fill in.
I quilt these from the center out, too, and that helps to smooth and push the fabric outward.
The color is showing more true below. I was able to finish up this last section last night. Next is the binding!
On that last quilt that I made, I accidentally sewed over a safety pin. First time for me and I intend to make it the last time.
I was in my "zone", quilting away then suddenly a horrible sound from the machine and a bent needle! It scared me to death!
Fortunately my machine was fine and my heart stopped pounding in a while.