Just creating in my studio

Hello everyone. My name is Claudette and I have an obsession with sewing, crafts, and creating art of pretty much any kind. My husband helped me build a small but serviceable sewing room/craft room/office in the extra bedroom of our home, and I use it a LOT. I've been a sewer for many years, but I'm fairly new to quilting and am learning new things all of the time.

Twister Quilt Block Tutorial

A while back I was watching sewing videos on YouTube.  I kept following video links until I came across a gadget I just *had* to try.  (I'm a sucker for any type of sewing gadget.  My local quilt shops see dollar signs when I walk in.  No kidding.)  It's this template called the "Lil' Twister", made by CS Designs.  http://www.country-schoolhouse.com/twister_tool.htm

There are several demos of this tool on YouTube, but I've taken some pictures as I've been working on my quilt blocks because, as usual, I'm doing things a bit differently.  The technique is the same, I just have my own layout ideas.  I'm just hoping my project winds up looking as good as it does in my head.

This tool is advertised as a new way to use charm squares.  I'm sure it works great for that, but I couldn't find any charm squares I liked so I cut my own with my 5" charm template.  I spent an afternoon cutting charm squares. (I didn't think I'd like that much since I normally hate cutting things out, but slicing and dicing my fabric into charm squares was strangely relaxing - almost a moment of Zen.)   I decided my way of unifying these blocks was that I would have a yellow block in the center of each nine patch.  I then sewed my charm squares into a nine patch block using a standard 1/4" seam.  Once I had my nine patch blocks done, I cut three inch strips to add borders to each side.  The short sides were cut at 14 inches long.  I sewed those along two opposite sides, then I repeated on the other two sides using more 3" strips cut to 19" long.

The next part is where things start to get fun.  I aligned the template with the seams in the block and cut each one with a rotory cutter.  I did this each place where the seams made an intersection.

Once I got that done, I removed the squares I had cut. 

This is what was left behind.

 It looks like a lot of fabric gets wasted.  Fear not, I have a solution for that.  I hate waste.  Quilting cotton can be expensive.

On my first block I used a rotory cutter to cut my squares.  I ended up with these wonderful 2.5" squares left over.  The problem was, I am not so precise with a rotory cutter so these perfect little squares had rotory cutter bites.  I decided I wanted to save those little squares so I cut all of the remaining blocks by tracing them with a pencil and cutting them by hand.

See how perfect these are?  I already have another project in mind for these.

The border bits can be used too - there are a couple of options...

You can cut 2.5" by 1" rectangles.  If you use these little rectangles between your "bonus" 2.5 inch blocks, it makes a really cute border.

Or, you can also sew the angles together to make a new rectangle.  If you do this there is almost no waste.

Well, there is this collection of fiddly bits.  If you are really into recycling, these can be used as stuffing for another project.

Oh, yeah, back to the actual block construction...

You can see in the picture above that the blocks get twisted slightly and then laid out into another square - this time a 16 patch.

So now I had this intricately cut block that I needed to sew back together. 

First I sewed pairs of blocks together...

Then the pairs into rows...

 Then it was time to press my strips.

I have seen several demos where I was instructed to iron the seams by ironing the blocks face to face first, then use the iron to"roll" the top portion of the block into place and them iron the seam flat.

See how the seam is flipping away from the iron?  That is what I wanted.  The weight of the iron keeps the fabric in place and allows the top to flip so that the seam is pointed toward the top fabric.  Once I got the fabric into this position I ironed it flat.  I repeated this same method all the way down the strip.

 The reason this is important is that I needed to be able to "nest" my seams when I sewed it to the next strip.  Since I needed the next strip ironed in the opposite direction, I turned every other strip upside down.

Now I grouped each set of strips into pairs.

Since I had pressed the seams in opposide directions, they nested together nicely.  I ironed these strips flat and then sewed the center seam.  FInally, I pressed the block flat.  This isn't my best pressing job, but you can see how the seams nested together, creating less bulk on the seams.

Then I flipped the whole thing over and gave it one more press.  

Here's the finished block.   (ok, ok... it's not the same block - I actually made a bunch of these.  But I think you get the idea.)

 I hope you have as much fun making these as I did!


Published Wed, Mar 9 2011 9:04 PM by Claudette
Filed under: ,


# re: Twister Quilt, Part 1@ Thursday, March 10, 2011 10:13 AM

Great tip and pictures.  It's always so much easier to do something when you can see it done.  Thanks.  Now I just have to get off my you know what and head  for my stash!

# re: Twister Quilt, Part 1@ Friday, March 18, 2011 5:09 AM

Hej Claudette,

Was wondering how large your block (in photo) ended up being?  Looks lovely by the way.  :-)  

Lynette in Sweden

# re: Twister Quilt, Part 1@ Friday, March 18, 2011 9:17 PM

Lynette, the block currently measures at 12.5 inches.  I plan on adding a border and a background fabric (I'll be doing this "quilt as you go") so the finished blocks are going to wind up around 18 inches or so.

# re: Twister Quilt, Part 1@ Monday, April 11, 2011 6:16 AM

Hej Claudette!

The block size would be good for a center block in a quilt that I have in mind.... :-)  I just ordered and received my itty bitty twister block which makes a finished 1" block.  :-)  I haven't used it yet but did find a nice tutorial on making pinwheels in the shape of a heart and shamrock.  :-)  At the moment though I've started on my english piecing hexagon project.  Happy stitching!  


# re: Twister Quilt, Part 1@ Monday, July 4, 2011 2:31 PM

Great pics and instructions. Now that I've seen your demo I'm going to get a Twister template for all those scraps. It makes such a cute quilt. Thanks, Ada

by Ada

# re: Twister Quilt, Part 1@ Wednesday, November 23, 2011 4:07 PM

Claudette, Thanks for telling me about your blog. I have made 5 or 6 Twisters now (both 5 and 10 inch) and have ordered a itty bitty twister tool. I am hooked.

by Sukochi

# re: Twister Quilt, Part 1@ Wednesday, November 23, 2011 5:43 PM


Your tutorial is excellent. Twister is a really neat concept and thank you for taking the time to share this.