Time to TWIST!

National Sewing Month 2013

Welcome Moda Cutting Table Fans,

     My name is Marsha Bergren and I am the designer of the “Twister” tools and books.  Other people also call me the “Twister Lady”, usually when they come into my quilt shop, Country Schoolhouse, in Superior, WI. 

    You have to bear with me as this is only the 2nd time (1st time was about 5 yrs ago) I’ve ever even attempted to write a blog!  I have to thank Moda’s social media people for taking  my words and pictures and making it into a blog.  As you can tell I am way behind in the social media world. 

   The Lil’ Twister was made for my customers.  I wanted them to have an easier way to make those darling pinwheels that I love.  The old way with going through all the steps took way too much time and was very frustrating as your template moved on the fabric and slid on the seams.  I made it (after several prototypes) using 1/4” acrylic so you wouldn’t shave the sides off with your cutter. I have a printer who uses an ink that won’t come off easily and the bumpers are made in the USA which keep the tool from slipping and raises it above the seams and it is all made locally.  We kept to 1 set of lines so no one would get confused lining up the marks with the seams.

   I started with the “Lil Twister” and designed it to be used with pre-cut charms and the “Twister” which used layer cakes.  This made it really fast and easy to arrange the blocks, put the pinwheel border around and then cut it and put it back together forming all those great pinwheels.  The latest member to the family is the “Midi Twister” which uses 6 1/2” squares which is the size of a lot of borders.  Just save the border scraps and you can use the “Midi” with those.

   The books came about as people wanted patterns to use with them.  The books go in order of difficulty – Let’s Twist is the introductory book and just has 1 pattern that uses both tools together;  Let’s Twist….Again is the 2ndbook and uses both tools in making most of the patterns and introduces “disappearing pinwheels” which allow you to take make a picture of an object using pinwheels and background.  The 3rdbook “ Let’s Twist…One More Time” is the book that has a lot more disappearing pinwheels and patterns where the fabrics are not pre-cut but selected by the quilter to go together in the quilt.  I am trying to work on another book where I will use all 3 tools together, but have had it in my head for about 6 months and not all on paper yet…..we’ll see when that gets done!

   I use an Olfa straight handle cutter to cut my pinwheels.  I like it as I can cut all around a piece and not have to move.  The pictures below show how I do it.  You can use either a 45 or 60mm.  I found it works best if I stand up and am over what I am cutting so the cutter is always cutting straight down and not at an angle.

Starting in a corner, putting the black lines of the Lil’ Twister 
over the seam lines on the pieced table topper.


This is the first cut on the side.

2nd cut along the top.
  3rd cut coming down along the side.



4th cut along the bottom.

I also typically alternate lights and to get a lot of pop from the pinwheels.  I have used fabrics that are just a shade in difference throughout a piece and that gives the look of a color wash and is also quite lovely.  It is a lot of fun to just experiment with various types, colors, and patterns of fabrics – let loose and just go for it!  I also pick a fairly quiet pinwheel border that is usually a marble, grunge, or solid and one that is not next to a block that is the same color, etc. 

   Once a full row is cut, sew it together matching the fabrics which are next to each pinwheel



This is the row just before you sew it. 

This is the row with the blocks sewn together. 

   After cutting the 2ndrow, sew the 1st and 2nd row together.  The pinwheels are then made obvious.  At this point most people understand the concept and then begin to pile and mark the rows and then sit down at the machine and sew all the rows at same time. 




shows 2 rows sewn together.


   Disappearing pinwheels are really fun to do.  I’ve described how to do them in my 2nd and 3rd books.  I use a graph and then take an object that I want to replicate and convert it into x’s on my graph.  It is a bit of hit and miss for some of  them.  I do have a pile of ones that didn’t work!  See the example below of the graph and then the picture of what it looks like made up.

   If you have never tried this technique before, you need to be warned that it is addicting!  There are many patterns out there that have been made using my twisters.  I only know of a few of those designers myself, but a lot of people send me a picture of what they have done or seen done.  I don’t have any idea how many patterns are out there as I have no time to spend on the internet searching for them.  I did see a picture of a “Twister” quilt that won the Grand Prize at the MN State Fair.  I am working on 2 samples for my shop right now….Quilt Moments  “Twister Sparkler” quilt which I am using Bella Solids in reds, greens and black in it and “Stubby Toe Stocking” from Bean Counter using the charm pack called Blitzen.                           


Here is another pretty Twister quilt made by Moda Lissa
You can see her take on the Twister ruler on her blog!

   Try the “Twisters” and feel free to send me a picture of what you have done and someday when I learn to post them to Facebook I will put them up.  You can like me on Facebook here
   I will be giving away one of my Twister tools to one lucky winner!  To enter please leave a comment about your favorite tools.  You will have until September 30th at midnight to comment.  All winners will be randomly selected and announced on Moda….The Cutting Table Blog on October 2nd.  Make sure to visit the blog every day for the opportunity to win each giveaway!!

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207 thoughts on “Time to TWIST!

  1. I have not tried your tools yet but am intrigued and would like to. Thanks for a chance at winning one.

    My favorite tool has to be the rotary cutter. What a time saving invention.

    Thanks for sharing and keep on “inventing” tools and patterns.

  2. My favorite tools are a rotary cutter and mat, I can’t live without them, but where would we be without all the wonderful, fun rulers that are out there. I’d love to try yours.

  3. I can’t live without my rotary cutter.
    I would love to win one of your twisters, because I have admired those designs for a long time now and I want to make one on my own.
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  4. I use my 6/5 X 24 inch ruler and rotary cutter on almost every project so I think they should “favorite” status. I love the twister quilts I’ve seen but have never made one.

  5. I have yet to make a twister quilt…you have inspired me! My favorite quilting tool has to be the seam ripper since it is constantly my companion:) Thanks for the giveaway and the inspiration:)

  6. The best is the rotary cutter and mat but next would be special rulers. i have the lil twister but would love to try the mid size one. Thanks for the chance Anne

  7. My fav tools are the rulers. Different sizes and shapes, the possibilities are endless! I made one twister quilt, but would love the other sizes and the books, too!!

  8. My favorite tools are my rotary cutter and mat. Who could live without them? I have your “Lil Twister” and the Primitive Gatherings twister that is 2.25 inches. So much fun! Would love to add the 10 inch to my collection. Thanks for the give away!

  9. I have the largest twister and all of the books. I have not made one yet but it’s on the list of todos.

    My favorite tool is rulers. I love them.

  10. My favorite tool is definitely my rotary cutter with my spinning mat second. No more picking up and readjusting blocks to trim them. I’ve always wanted to try the twister block. Your tool would be very helpful.

  11. Love that Twister tool!!! My favorite tools are the rotary cutter and mat. I can’t imagine quilting without them!!! Thank you for the chance!

  12. One of my favorite tools is the Quilters Rule by Westalee. It’s an adjustable ruler that makes it easy to cut strips by myself. The adjustable strip abuts to the fabric edge for accurate cuts. I purchased one and showed my quilt group and now many of them have one too. It would be great to use this to cut the squares needed for the Twister tools. Thank you for the opportunity!!

  13. I love my rulers and cutters! And as I read all the posts on Moda’s blog, I am learning there is a ruler for just about anything to make cutting easier! I can’t wait to give the Twister quilts a try! How fun!! Thanks for the chance to win!

  14. The wreath! I have to make one!

    My favorite, most used tool has to be the rotary cutter. And the mini rotary cutter. Amazing time savers.

  15. My current favorite tool would be my Seam Fix seam ripper. I have found it extremely useful when I have to rip stitches when I’m quilting.

    I’m hoping my next favorite tool will be a twister ruler…*crossing fingers*.

  16. Rulers have to be my favorite tool. This blog hop has been so inspiring! I love twisters! I have the lil twister but need to try my hand at the other sizes. Thank you for sharing & participating in this fabulous blog hop.

  17. I wondered how people did those pinwheels, they looked so complicated. It is awesome that there is a tool that makes it sew easy! I am a very fickle quilter and my favorite tool changes with almost every quilt. Right now my favorite is the card stock hexie. I would love to win one of your wonderful tools! Thank you.

  18. Love the wreath pattern. I’m making my first twister right now, using the mini twister. It’s a blast, and as you say, addicting. Can’t wait to do more!

  19. One great tool to use with the Twister ruler is my rotating cutting mat. Makes it so much easier to cut those blocks. I only have the Lil Twister and would love to try the midi one. Thanks for the opportunity to win!

  20. I love love love my 3.5 inch square – since I hate making HST – this has made my quilting life much happier.
    I have a twister block – and fabric – and it all – but just can’t wrap my head around it – thank you for the post cause this might be the push I need to try this.

  21. I haven´t tried your tool but love all the patterns I,ve saw playing eith them.
    One of my favorite tools are rotatory cutter and mat,most used.Thanks for the chance!

  22. I have not tried your template yet but I really want to. I have seen all the beautiful quilts made with it. I put the books and template on my wish list. Maybe Santa will bring them to me. I love my rotary cutter. I cant do without it.

  23. I’ve never tried a twister ruler but I’ve seen lots of quilts on blogs using one and I’d like to try one!!
    My favourite tool is my rotary cutter.

  24. My favorite tool is the rotary cutter. If it wasn’t for that, I would not be quilting or sewing because I’m lousy with scissors!

    Thank you for a chance to win.

  25. What would any quilter do without their rotary cutter?!!! I CANNOT imagine!! And when you team it up with a ruler like yours a quilter would be in heaven!! Thanks so much for the chance!!

  26. My favorite tool is my rotary cutter. My grandmother never even owned one when she made all her quilts and I cant even imagine working without one. I also love to try new tools and templates that come out.

  27. My favorite tools have to be rotary cutters, self healing mats and long, sharp Clover glass head silk pins. I love all of my Twister rulers!

  28. This looks like a really fun technique and tool. My favourite tool has to be my rotary cutter. Without it all my rulers would be so much harder to use!

  29. I have made a couple of baby quilts using a makeshift ruler. They were fun. There is a wreath for christmas I want to make as well as a halloween pumpkin. I would love to get the books/ruler. Thanks for the opportunity. Kay

  30. I love all my tools but my current favorite is my pointy tweezers. Love my rulers and would love the set. Have made a wall hanging and want to try something larger.

  31. All time favorite tool? It’s gotta be my rotary cutter! Changed my life! I’m also very partial to my flock of scissors! But rotary cutters rule! I have your first template for charm packs and I’d like to try out that cute chubby stocking. It’s adorable!

  32. Hello, I love the twister and have made several of them. I have all of them except the itty bitty one. I had finished putting the blocks together and went to get the tool and didn’t have it. Oooops, had to borrow a friends, so I’d like to win one for myself 🙂

  33. My favorite is my scissors. My husband bought me a very good pair and I love them. I have been seeing a lot of twister quilts and would love to get all the offstage sizes.

  34. My favorite tool is the rotary cutter. I made a lovely Christmas tree quilt from you pattern. I absolutely love it, and my machine quilter did a terrific job.

  35. I have been wanting to try this tool for a while now. Such cute patterns for it, too!

    My favorite tool right now seems to be my seam ripper. “Jack” and I have become fast friends lately. 🙂

    Sandy A

  36. I would love to have one of your twister rulers. I am really getting into the “new” rulers and am very pleased with the results. I guess my favorite tool right now is my rotating cutting board.

  37. I have seen this and would like to try it. It is amazing how you can sew one thing, cut it up and make something wonderful. My favorite tool is my rotary cutter and seam ripper. Thank you for sharing your creative side with us.

  38. I am new to quilting and have seen these twisters. I have wondered how they are made! I would love thus tool! I guess my favorite tool is the rotary cutter.

  39. I love my rotary cutter and my 6×24 ruler. I also love my iron and lots of steam. I’ve seen this tool and samples lately and I’m intrigued by it and would love to try it out.

  40. I have not used a twister yet , but have been eyeing those lovely pumpkin patterns made with one…just adorable. The rotary cutter has to be the best invention ever!

  41. Thanks for a chance to try these rulers. I love the look of the twister quilts I see in Blogland.
    Besides my rotary cutter I use my Hera marker often.

  42. My must-have trio of quilting tools: Rotary cutter, cutting mat, and 6″x12″ ruler. With these three I can create anything. — soparkaveataoldotcom

  43. I haven’t made a twister quilt yet. I think it is a fascinating technique. My favorite tool is my rotary cutter. If it wasn’t for that invention I wouldn’t be a quilter.

  44. Because I remember cutting everything with just a scissors, my favorite is the rotary cutter and mat – you have to have the mat if you have the cutter!!

  45. My favourite tool is really a set of tools ie rotary cutter, mat and ruler as one really needs them all together. Perhaps I could call them the “rotarycuttermaandruler tool”??

  46. A twister quilt has been on my wish list for a long, long time! My favorite tool is a 3X12 Nancy Crow ruler which I have had for years and years and years.

  47. My favorite tool? It’s way to hard to pick just one. All tools are very important when quilting/sewing. I would love to win and try one of your Twister tools. One can never have too many quilting/sewing tools.

  48. I have yet to work with a Twister Ruler but I just love the whimsical patterns they make. Although I use my Seam Ripper often, 🙁 Rotary Tools have got to be my favorite…how would we quilt without them.

  49. I haven’t used the twisters yet but really love the little pinwheel they make. Thanks for having this opportunity to win one.

    My favorite tool is my AccuQuilt GO! cutter and dies z I love how accurate and fast it is.

  50. I couldn’t get by without my rotary cutter and mat so I guess they would have to be my favorite tools. I would love to add the twister ruler to my collection. Thanks for the chance to win one.11

  51. Your tool looks very intriguing. I saw Missouri Quilts do a demo a few weeks back and it was quite nice. My favorite tool is always the one under the stack of whatever is in my sewing room that I can’t find! That is why I have multiples of nearly all rulers and cutters LOL. Would love to give the twister a try!

  52. My favorite tool, like so many others, is my rotary cutter. I can’t imagine cutting all those pieces without it. Love the twister quilts!

  53. I’m going to echo a number of other comments, but my most favorite tool is my 60mm rotary cutter by Olfa with the larger handle that closes when you let go of it. I love knowing that I cannot forget to close the rotary cutter and accidentally cut myself or anyone else that may come into my sewing room.

    After that the tool that I use every single time I am sewing or doing machine embroidery is my brass stiletto I bought from Eleanor Burns’ website. I love that tool for numerous applications.

  54. I have to agree with lots of others, my most useful tool would be my rotary cutter! I love your twister patterns, but have yet to make any of them. Thanks for the chance to win a Twister tool!

  55. My magnetic pincushion is one of my favorite tools. Love that it holds on to my pins and if they are spilled, it can pick them up much faster than I could.

  56. I’ve been admiring Twister quilts for a while, but haven’t yet made one. All the new tools that have evolved in the last 40 years are AMAZING! My first 3 quilts were made by tracing around cardboard templates with a pencil. Rotary cutters are the best!
    Ruth in FL

  57. Would love to win your midi twister, it would complete my set. Favorite tool is rotary cutter. I am old enough to remember when they first came out. Most used tool this week would be the seam ripper.

  58. I primarily use my 6.5 x24 ruler but I’m also fairly new to quilting. The variety of aides discussed here this month has been both fascinating and eye-opening. I can’t wait to get more proficient. Thanks for both the information and a great giveaway. kathleen dot lutz at comcast dot net

  59. It would have to be the rotary cutter and mat. Without them rulers like this would have a hard time being used. Unless you drew around them and then cut out with scissors! Blah! Who would want to do that now after using the rotary cutter! I love your rulers and these quilts are on my someday list!

  60. Love Twister rulers! I’ve made several (it’s addictive!) from charms and yardage and have a ‘fruits and veggies’ one planned for the layercake size. One of my go to ‘patterns’ and hope to do more! Sew much fun!

  61. I really like the Twister rulers. My DIL and I each bought a different size ruler and made several. I would like to do the disappearing twisters, they look so intricate and I know, after trying a few that it’s all in the layout before your first cut. It’s a great way to do a quilt. and I use all the excess either in the borders or piece into the back. Thanks.

  62. The Twister patterns are always so inspirational! My favourite tool is my trim ruler that is 31/2 inches wide. Helpful for cutting those smaller pieces. Thanks for the giveaway.

  63. Hi Marsha,

    I made a small wall hanging with your twister tool and I have to say…you’re right, it is very addictive! The effect of the pinwheels came out so beautifully and easily. Definitely one of my favourite tools! Thanks for the chance to win some goodies!

  64. Love your twister tools and I have 2. The little twister and the smaller one that came with a pattern. Awesome to work with and such fun results. Great quilt shop too!!

  65. I have admired quilts made from your tool but have yet to try one myself. Other than my rotary cutter I have to say my laptop is my favorite tool as almost everything I have learned about quilting has been online. Thanks for the chance to win one of your cool rulers.

  66. Like most my favorite tool is my rotary cutter, second would be my iPad. With it I can look up so many helpful how-to videos. Also search so many patterns and blogs.

  67. I really like my rotary cutter and mat. Thank you for the opportunity to win. I have the first book and two of the rulers and haven’t tried them yet. This post makes me want to get started. Would love the midi ruler and one of the new books!

  68. I’ve been having the best time with the twister rulers! Love them. I am about to cut out orange and black squares of fabric to do the pumpkin for Fall!! Thanks for the chance to win!

  69. I started quilting when tracing around a cardboard template was used followed by cutting the shape out with scissors. So my favorite tool is the rotary cutter……what a great invention. And of course my sewing machine…..I remember piecing by hand…..it took forever!!!
    Thanks so much for the chance to win :0)

    Happy Sewing

  70. these rulers look fun, got to give them a try for sure. its hard to pick a favorite, just like kids you love them all but at this moment in time i find i us my 4.5 ruler for a lot of things.

  71. As everyone else mentioned, my rotary cutter is my favorite tool. I also like my rotating cutting mat. That function comes in very handy. Love your Twister tool. I have made a few pieces with it.

  72. I think your twister tool is pretty cool. I haven’t used it yet but plan to. Great idea. My fave tool is any rotary ruler. They make things so much easier.

  73. I’ve always wanted to be a “Twister”. ☺ Thanks a bunch for the chance to win in this awesome giveaway!

    My favorite tool has to be a rotary cutter with a brand new blade.

    mynanamaree @ yahoo . com

  74. I’ve been drooling over the twister quilts so I would love the chance to play with your ruler! My favorite tools are my rotary cutter and rotating cutting mat. Thanks for the chance to win!

  75. Looks fun! I’d love to try your twister tool. My favorite tool is a small pair of scissors my Mom gave me when I first started sewing. Thanks for your giveaway.


  76. my favorite tool is my seam ripper. i must love it a lot, i seem to use it every day :)… i have seen your twister but havent had the guts to try it. thanks for the chance to win

  77. My favorite tool changes from one day to the next. I love my rotary cutters. I have seen a quilt done with your twister tool. It was awesome. I would love to win this. Thank you for the chance to win!

  78. OMG!! How easy does your tool make creating tessellations or twisters as you call them?? Oh that I had this tool 20 years ago when I made my first and only twister block quilt. 🙂

  79. I haven’t tried a pinwheel quilt yet, this would make it so much easier to make.
    My fave tool is my rotary cutter – I’m so bad at cutting straight lines without it!

  80. I have a Twister Shamrock quilt in process…FOREVER. I keep going back to it and will finish by March, I PROMISE!!! My favorite tool is my round tip embroidery scissors. Use them for everything.

  81. I have your first two twister rulers and first book. I saw them a long time ago on Moda Lisa, searched you out and ordered for my friend and me. We love them.

  82. I have made one table topper using the Twister, and it was great fun. But, i have to say that my favorite tool is the Rotary Cutter. It has made cutting so much easier!

  83. Hard to pick a favorite, so i looked on my sewing table to see what was out there. Sorry to say, it is my seam ripper. The twister tool looks like fun!

  84. This looks like a really fun ruler that would definitely make twisters much easier.

    My favorite tool is my rotary cutter. I can’t imagine making a quilt without it.

  85. My favorite tool has to be my olfa 60mm quick-change rotary cutter, followed by my Gingher thread snips. They live right by my sewing machine at all times. I haven’t tried your Twister tool but would love to do so. Thank you for the giveaway!

  86. I have been intrigued with all the “Twister talk”, but have not tried one yet. That could all change, thanks for the giveaway.
    I love my little specialty ruler/templates – they make me feel sooooo – special!

  87. oh my favorite quilting tools would be my rulers and rotary cutter! they are essential!
    the “twisters” looks really neat! I would love to make a quilt using it!


  88. I’ve really been wanting to try a Twister quilt, so I would be thrilled to win. Hard to say what my favorite tool is, but I guess it would be my rotary cutting rulers that have raised ridges on the back.

  89. I’ve seen so many twister quilts but have never made one b/c I don’t have the ruler! My favorite tools right now have to be my rotary cutter and my Clover needle threader for threading hand sewing needles. These eyes of mine are showing their age! Thanks for the chance to win the Twister.

  90. Okay!!! I have become obsessed with the twister. I love it. I borrowed a twister ruler because i have not been able to purchase one in this fine City. I would say it’s my favorite and hope to obtain different sizes of my own. Hooray for this ruler

  91. Being a new quilter I haven’t purchased too many tools yet but I’d have to say at this point that my favorite would be the rotary cutter and mat. The twisters have intrigued me and I would like to try one soon. Thanks for the tutorial and the chance to win!

  92. We sell the Twister Ruler at the shop where I work and what I like about the large one (used with layer cakes) is how you’re left with those very use-able pieces of fabric…. there really is very little ‘waste” and I appreciate that!!!!


  93. This concept is so appealing to me, a math teacher. I would love to own one or more of your rulers and patterns. My favorite tool is of course the rotary cutter and on omnigrid ruler, as many sizes and shapes as I can afford.

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