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My Sister’s Quilt


The story of all quilts begins with the quilter.

Trent Blume entered the quilting scene in December of 1994 when he and his wife received a log cabin quilt for Christmas from his mother-in-law. 

Something inside him said, “I could do that.” 

 

Quilting swiftly evolved from a hobby to a passion. With nearly three decades as a quilter, Trent’s quilting room setup has grown to include a Q’nique 21X Elite, Continuum II Frame, and a Luminess Light Bar. Every vacation agenda with his wife now includes a stop at a fabric store. He aspires to open a fabric store of his own someday. Over the years, he has created many styles of quilts. 

Trent is best known for his “ugly quilts,” which he makes for his family and friends that feature fabrics with the recipient's favorite items, sports, colors, etc. Despite the name for these colorful quilts, they are anything but ugly. His careful consideration in each block and quilt is evident. 

Today, I had the honor of interviewing Trent to hear the story of his kaleidoscope quilt. Trent comes from a family with four sisters and two brothers. This particular quilt story begins with Trent’s sister, Sheila, and her three boys. 

In 1985, Sheila and her husband Dan lost their nine-year-old son Michael to a three-year battle with brain tumors. Then, thirty-five years later, in September 2020, Sheila unexpectedly lost her oldest son, Derek. Just as words cannot describe a mother’s grief, words often fall short in the vacuum of space where a loved one once offered cheek kisses and bear hugs.  

Derek James DuBois

September 17, 1980 - September 26, 2020

 

In the days after Derek’s passing, Trent wanted to offer his sister comfort in any way he could. He immediately knew that he wanted to make a quilt for Sheila to honor the memory of her son— his nephew. 

“What was his favorite color?” asked Trent. 

Blue. 

At Derek’s funeral, Trent pulled the center block of the quilt from his pocket. He revealed the quilt block to Sheila, promising that he’d have the rest of the gift finished soon. The gesture brought both siblings to tears. This quilt bore the weight of the words their grieving hearts hurt to express. 

The kaleidoscope quilt began with Trent’s unique reimagining of a 9-patch pattern. As the design grew from the first block, Trent called upon his sister’s opinions to help him select the final arrangement of the blocks. Courthouse step blocks (a variation of the log cabin block) border the central design. He described the external pattern of the quilt exploding into existence as he pieced each strip of batik fabric into place. 

That first 9-patch block remained unchanged in the center of each possible configuration as the heart of the quilt. 

Quilters make quilts with love, quilters give quilts with love, and whenever the recipient wraps themselves in the quilt, they are wrapped in love. Trent mentioned that as a quilter, one wonders where the quilts live after being gifted. Does it get tucked safely away in a closet? Does it get draped over a chair as a display? Does the quilt ever hold the one to whom it was given? 

When the quilt was complete, he gave it to Sheila and told her, “Whenever you need a hug, wrap this around your shoulders.

To this day, Sheila sleeps with the quilt on her bed. 

 

I’d like to extend an enormous thank you to Trent and Sheila for sharing a piece of their story with us today. Below is one more sampling of Trent’s incredible quilts. If you’d like to see more of Trent’s work, you can find him in the Quilting with Grace Facebook Group or at our free online quilting events. 

 

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