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Roberta Horton and C&T Publishing, a Fortuitous Connection

Feb 16th 2021

On February 4th the world lost a legend in the quilt industry with the passing of Roberta Horton.

Roberta’s connection to C&T Publishing started back in the early 1980’s. Roberta was teaching a popular class at The Cotton Patch (Lafayette, CA) owned by Carolie Hensley. Sometime in 1982, Roberta presented a compelling manuscript that described in detail how to create successful amish quilts based on her class. Carolie and Tom Hensley made the decision to publish Roberta’s book and C&T Publishing was born.

C&T and Roberta went on to publish numerous books together, many of which are still available today. Roberta also introduced her talented sister, Mary Mashuta, to C&T who together published several best-selling books for quilt makers.

Carolie Hensley, founder of C&T says, “Roberta was a very talented teacher. Very knowledgeable and dedicated. She was so kind and brought out the best in her students. She would bring her students into the store to help them choose their fabrics for a successful quilt. She was always so patient. She was truly a legend and she will be dearly missed”.

Todd Hensley, CEO of C&T, “My heart goes out to Roberta’s family and her sister Mary Mashuta. Roberta was an amazing artist whose work will stand the test of time. Her first book, An Amish Adventure was the first book that showed how to recreate these stunning quilts. I think my favorite book of Roberta’s was her 1995 release, The Fabric Makes the Quilt because it incorporated her love of travel and unique fabric in creating beautifully designed quilts. It felt like a game changer. Roberta was a wonderful author and teacher and I was honored to work with her for many years.”

Lynn Koolish, former developmental editor at C&T remarks, “Before I knew her personally, I was always impressed that Roberta Horton, a renowned quilter, would not only regularly attend our local guild meetings, but she and her sister Mary, would always sit in the front row. But as I got to know Roberta, I wasn’t surprised any more. A charter member of the guild, she was always involved and supportive. When I was the program chair some years back, Roberta, who always got to meetings early, would help get things set up for the speaker—the quilt stands, the quilts. She was even my backup AV person, bringing the digital projector to the meeting and helping to set it up, if I was unable to be there. For years, guest speakers at the guild were treated to a tour of San Francisco and Dim Sum in Chinatown with Roberta and Mary on the off Sunday between the Saturday and Monday workshop days.

As I started to travel and teach more, Roberta always had words of encouragement and support. It was always so helpful to be able to talk to someone who had traveled and taught so extensively. I have met so many people who say that Roberta was one of their first quiltmaking teachers and how much they learned from her. The quilting world has lost a luminary—she will be missed”.

In 2003 C&T Publishing released a commemorative book showcasing the many authors and books published over the years. In this book, Roberta shares, “I was C&T’s first author. I had been teaching an Amish quilt series for several years. An Amish Adventure: A Workbook for Color in Quilts was essentially put together in about a month. I would write a chapter and do rough sketches. When I dropped these off at the designer, I would see the previous chapter, which included the corrections of the copy editor plus the finished illustrations for my approval. FAST. I remember flying on the plane to the Houston Quilt Market with my publisher, Tom Hensley, to introduce the book. The book was being printed as we flew. We amused ourselves looking at the photocopied version of the book. At Market, Tom rented a chair in someone else’s booth. He and I took turns sitting in the chair as we sold the book. C&T was born!”

C&T has set up a go fund me page for Mary Mashuta to help.

Photo of Mary Mashuta, Carolie Hensley, and Roberta Horton: