Sew, cut, stagger, and repeat. Stitch together strips to create a quilt with striking visual impact.
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Designer: Karen Snyder


  • 12—18×21" pieces (fat quarters) assorted prints, dots, and stripes in white, purple, green, orange, and yellow (vertical rows)
  • 1 yard black print (inner border, binding)
  • 1-7/8 yards letter print (outer border) If you are not using a directional print you will only need 11⁄4 yards
  • 4-1/8 yards backing fabric
  • 76×73" batting

Finished Quilt: 67-1/2×65"

Yardages and cutting instructions are based on 42" of usable fabric width.

Measurements include 1/4" seam allowances. Sew with right sides together unless otherwise stated.

Press seams in directions indicated by arrows on diagrams. If no direction is specified, press seams toward darker fabric.

Cut Fabrics

Cut pieces in the following order.

If you are using a directional print as Karen did, you will need to cut the side outer border strips lengthwise and the top and bottom outer border strips crosswise.

From each assorted print, dot, and stripe, cut:

  • 4—5×18" strips

From black print, cut:

  • 8—2-1⁄2×42" binding strips
  • 6—1-1⁄2×42" strips for inner border

From letter print, cut:

  • 2—5×65" side outer border strips, cut lengthwise (parallel to selvage)
  • 4—5×30" outer border strips, cut widthwise for top and bottom borders

Assemble Vertical Rows

1) Gather one 5×18" strip from each assorted print, dot, and stripe. Place strips in desired order.

Karen suggests arranging strips so there is high contrast between them to achieve the maximum zigzag effect.

2) Sew together strips to make a strip set (Diagram 1). The strip set should be 18×54-1/2" including seam allowances. Press seams in one direction.

Quake diagram 1

3) Repeat steps 1 and 2 to make four identical strip sets total.

4) With right sides together, join first and last strips of a strip set to make a tube. Press seam open (Diagram 2). Repeat to make four tubes total.

Quake diagram 2

5) Lay a tube on cutting mat, smoothing tube as flat as possible. If necessary, trim to square up one long edge. Cut tube into seven 2-1/2"-wide loops (Diagram 3). Turn each loop right side out.

Quake diagram 3

6) Repeat Step 5 with remaining tubes to make 28 loops total.

7) On a design wall or other large flat surface, pin loops side by side, with the same fabric at the top (Diagram 4).

Quake diagram 4

8) Working from left to right, fold and stagger loops as shown in Diagram 5. Fold the first rectangle in Row 1 in half. The first rectangle in Row 2 remains as it was placed, with a full rectangle at the top. Fold the first rectangle in Row 3 in half. Pin the full rectangle of the second fabric at the top in Row 4. Beginning with Row 5, repeat the process to prepare 28 rows total so they form a zigzag pattern on the design wall (Quilt Assembly Diagram).

Quake diagram 5
Quake qad

9) Starting with Row 1, cut loops apart to make vertical rows. Do not unstitch. Unfold and return rows to design wall as you cut or trim each one to keep fabrics in the correct sequence. For all odd-numbered rows, use scissors to cut loop in half at center of top rectangle (Diagram 6, Row 1).

For even-numbered rows 2, 6, 10, 14, 18, 22, and 26, turn loop wrong side out and trim seam next to stitching (Diagram 6, Row 2). For even-numbered rows 4, 8, 12, 16, 20, 24, and 28, turn loop wrong side out and trim seam next to stitching (Diagram 6, Row 4).

Quake diagram 6

Assemble Quilt Center

Referring to Quilt Assembly Diagram, sew together vertical rows to make quilt center. Press seams in one direction. The quilt center should be 56-1/2×54" including seam allowances.

Add Borders

1) Cut and piece black print 11⁄2×42" strips to make:

  • 2—1-1/2×56-1/2" inner border strips
  • 2—1-1/2×56" inner border strips

2) Sew 1-1/2×56-1/2" inner border strips to top and bottom edges of quilt center. Add 1-1/2×56" inner border strips to remaining edges. Press all seams toward inner border.

3) Cut and piece letter print 5×30" strips to make:

  • 2—5×581⁄2" short outer border strips

4) Sew short outer border strips to top and bottom edges of quilt center. Add long outer border strips to remaining edges to complete quilt top. Press all seams toward outer border.

Finish Quilt

1) Layer quilt top, batting, and backing; baste. 

2) Quilt as desired. Designer Karen Snyder machine-quilted zigzag lines across the quilt top.

3) Bind with black print binding strips.