The last *thing* on the design wall is this experiment with the Twister blocks. I am smitten, in case you can't tell!
I read online somewhere~wish I could remember where! That if you trace the lines from the L'il Twister ruler onto a 6.5 inch ruler and start with your pieces cut at 8 inches...you end up with a medium size twister.
EDIT: Here is one tutorial and she DID say to cut the first block at 8.5 inches!