The Amazing Twister Tool – Quilting Made Easy


Hi, Im Jenny from the Missouri Star Quilt Company. Take a look this quilt behind me. This is a darling quilt. It is made pinwheel- fashioned using the twister tool. Love this quilt! It’s so cute, so fun, and so easy but I wasn’t convinced at first. It’s made using the twister tool and I just didn’t know how it was going to work and my mind just doesn’t think angle-y like that. And then a friend of mine brought her tool to our guild and we made a project using the twister tool and I was so smitten.

So today I wanted to do this project here, this cute little Christmas wreath. You can really make this in any color. I’ve seen it done in spring colors, and all different colors. I’m going to hang it right up here on this other quilt so you guys can see it.

So here’s…I’ll hang it to the side a little because I want you to keep in mind what we are working toward with this quilt.

This is the twister tool right here. It’s just a little square that’s got four little pads on the bottom so it doesn’t slip anywhere and it’s got a wonky set of lines across that is twisted just a little bit. That’s what makes your block. So basically you are just cutting out squares but they are going to get wonky and that is what gives you this pinwheel look. This is the block right here. It is a little tricky so I want to show you.

There are all kinds of books on this. There’s a book called “Let’s Twist” and “Let’s Twist Again.” There are patterns out there. There are people that make the most amazing patterns and things like this. For this little wreath I’ve just sketched out, using graph paper, a little drawing that will help us to do that. What we are going to do is use Charm Pack squares and we are going to sew them together just like it shows on the graph. So for this project you are going to need 33 background squares, 8 red squares, and 8 green squares, to make this little Christmas quilt.

Let me show you what I’ve done. I’ve taken the whole panel here and I’ve just sewn it together. And this is what you get when you sew that panel together. It doesn’t look at all like it’s going to end up like that. Course I used a little different color on it so that I could have one that has a little different look to it. But it’s going to end up just like that.

Now with the twister tool there is a little waste. What happens to that waste is you get a square that will just fit the next ruler down so it’s really not too wasteful because you can make one, and then make one a little smaller, and then make one a little smaller. And so the tools come in several different sizes, and again we are using the one that is set up for charms. So I want you to keep an eye on what I’m doing here. You put your pattern together—all your squares together—and you want to put your first border on because you want these points here to be on your outer border. You want to kind of frame what you are doing.

And we’re going to take this twister square and we’re going to place it right where the four seams come together and we’re going to line up our lines. You can see on here, what that does is make kind of a wonky square. So I’m going to move this right up here like this and cut this. Now the trick for me with doing this quilt is when I cut out these squares I have to lay them down exactly as they came off or I will get completely mixed up, I mean so mixed up. So here we’re going to just cut this and because there is a little bit of wiggle room you can use your rotary cutter and just cut all the way around like this.

And then I’m going to take this square our here—and I got a little catch here, let me get this right here, and a little catch there—and I’m going to take this square and I’m just going to set it right over here so we’re going to make a row.

I cut and sew one row at a time. And so we’ll just go ahead and I’ll be cutting along here. So, see what your getting is the bottom half of your square. Oh gosh, I keep missing this over here. I’m going to have to pay better attention. There we go. And remember you just line them up. So, you can see that its just a square that has that wonk to it. We’re just going to lay those out and do the next one. See if I can make this one this time without leaving my corners undone, there we go. Line it up. Now one of the things that you’ll see on this is that it is about 25% waste—I mean shrinkage. So you must start off with a bigger project because you are taking it down to a smaller project so you have to expect a little shrinkage. But like I was saying earlier the pieces that are left are pieces that you can include in your next size down.

So, almost one more and then we can sew this row together. And because my mind… I just don’t… If I cut this whole thing out in a pile, and had a pile of twisters sitting there I would never get it back together to save my life. My friend who does this, she’s so good at it. She can see exactly where they go, but it doesn’t make sense to me that way so I have to put them out in a row like this. And I’m going to go ahead and pin them together. I’m just putting right sides together and pinning the edge I’m going to sew on, right here. I’m just pinning the edge I’m going to sew on to the next one, so I’m making the whole row here. Again you can see right there, I’m just pinning that edge. And then I’ll do the sewing all at once. I’ll just go to the sewing machine and sew the whole thing all at one time. Here we go.

I am…I’m kinda…my brain is kind of challenged with these angles. I don’t always see those angles so I have to lay it out very carefully. So I’m going to come right here to the sewing machine and just sew these together.

As I sew them, I’m just going to pull the pin out and stick it back in my pin cushion so that I don’t lose those pins anywhere. And I’ll pull that out right before I get to it. We don’t really want to sew over pins. It’s not a good plan.

So, now this is the last one for sure. Alright, now we are going to come over here to the ironing board and press these. You can see how it looks as it begins. Ya know, I mean it’s just, it’s starting to come together. We’re going to press this down and I’m going to leave this row here and I ‘m going to start on the next row.

I want you to take a look at this little bit of waste that’s here because that will actually fit the next size down twister tool so it isn’t actually waste. So again, I’m going to move this so I can make my cuts. And I’m going to come straight across here and line up right here where here the seams come together. I’m going to line up my tool–and this is one of the reasons they put these little gummy drop things on the bottom is that so it won’t slide—but the other thing is so that it lifts it up over those seams so you don’t have a wonky ruler. It constantly sits flat, which I love that about this tool.

So again, we are just going to lay these over here. It must be this first one that’s….I’m going to put them right over here in order. Sometimes some people use a design wall for this where you can just put them on a design wall and they can sit there and they cut out the whole thing. I kinda like to do it row by row and see my progress. But see these little pieces that you have left over? That’s just the size for the next ruler so we’re good to go. You could make, you know, a lot of people love to make those little miniatures, those little tiny….little tiny quilts.

And this cutting around this square will feel a little awkward to you at first but you pick it up, I mean it picks up really, really quickly. There were so many things that I was worried about with this ruler and none of them have come to fruition, I mean it’s, I just really like it. IT makes a great little, anything, any little gift is great with these little, these cute little pinwheels. Oops, can’t get that mixed up. One more and then we’ll sew this row together.

Alright, so now again I’m going to make sure that all my little pieces— I just stack these little pieces as they come off—I just stack them to the side so I can use them. Uh oh, let me see where this went here…It went this way, okay! So we’re good—I almost got lost there. I’m going to pin these again. I don’t want to move them to the sewing machine without…I’ll never find my place again. My friend, Dawn, who showed us how to use this twister tool, she’s just a whiz at this and it doesn’t confuse her at all. But I thought, if it confuses me, it might confuse some of you and it would be good to just show you how I do this so I don’t lose my place.

It’s really like sewing straight blocks together because when you go to put the rows together you’re just concentrating on those straight blocks. Alright, we’re just going to sew this real quick, get these edges done here.

So now I’ve got this row sewn together so let’s go over to the ironing board and press it. Now I sew my rows together immediately because I don’t want to lose my place.

Now I’m down to the last row and I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to lay them out just as you cut them. Use your little ruler, cut where the seams come together, and each time you cut one just lay it out right next to each other. We’re going to sew that together, so we’ve got this one last row to sew together. I’m just going to put a pin where all the seams go together. I don’t even want to pick up my row to take it because I’m afraid I’ll lose my place. So go along and pin them together. This is such a quick, fun easy project. Really it’s enjoyable. It’s one of those things that when you see it coming together it’s like this little surprise. It’s like “Ah, that is so cool!” I just fell in love with it.

Alright, let me just sew these together for you. Now we will head over to the ironing board and press it. And again I’m not too worried about which directions my seams go because when I sew the next row on I’m going to make each seam lay in an opposite direction to the one I’m matching it up with.

I just get my seams started and then I lift it up and make sure those two seams line up perfectly and then I can sew right to the next seam, and then I stop and check and make sure that seam is lined up. It’s just an easy way to do it. I just don’t love pins, it’s not fast enough for me.

Let me press this and we will have our “Tada” moment. So we are all finished up. Look how adorable that is. Now you just finish it up with a boarder and quilt it and you are done – quick and easy little project. They are so cute. Let me show you a couple of other little ideas that I made, little projects. Here is a couple of little table toppers. This one at every juncture there is a little button – very cute. This one is just a cute little place mat, candle mat to set on your table.

This is my favorite. I used this pattern right here called Halloween Twist by Simple Twisted Designs – look how cute that is. It’s all twistered out!

So I love this twister and I hope that you love it too and I hope you enjoyed this tutorial from the Missouri Star Quilt Company.

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  • Diane

    How much fabric is needed for the boarder, backing, and bating with re: to the wreath above done with the twister tool? Thank You!

  • Sherrie Mathis Thurman

    Thank You! I too am “angely” challenged and your suggestion to do this row by row makes this much less intimidating:)

    • JenniferMSQC

      The phrase “angely” challenged might be my new favorite! Glad the tutorial gave you the confidence to try!

  • Fran Richards

    I’ve just bought the ‘Twister tool’ and the book ‘Let’s Twist Again’ and can’t wait to get started. Found this video very helpful as I too will sew ‘row by row’ as done in this video.

    • JenniferMSQC

      Fantastic, Fran! We hope you’ll share your finished product with us!

  • Cathie

    I saw the videos today, which aren’t new, on how the Doan Family has changed the small town of Hamilton, Mo. Such an accomplishment for all of you. Congrats! Not to mention Jenny and the fabulous tutorials, you are a natural!

  • Betsy Lloyd Adair Reiter

    Can you tell me if that is a layer cake used in the quilt behind Jenny? If so, what is the name? I love the materials used….looks old…like something my grandmother would have made. Thanks

  • Debbie Ricketts Pennington

    I would like to now if the fabric used in the quilt behind Jenny is available for sale. If so, what is the name of it and where can i purchase it. Can it be purchased in a kit? I love it!!! Love all of your tutorials!!