Tuesday, January 19, 2016


Just seeing this photo of the kind, talented and wonderful Blanche Young brought a flood of memories back.  Blanche was a true pioneer in the quilt world.....and unselfishly became Doreen Speckmann's mentor, who in turn became my mentor, and hoping to return the kindness, I've enjoyed mentoring Nancy Prince early on in her career.

Blanche was a frequent guest instructor on Doreen's quilting cruises, and I was as well......so we got to hang out together a lot. Though many of you readers may not have quilted way back then.....Blanche blazed the trail for us with her easy piecing methods.  It's another loss to the quilt world, as was Doreen's passing back in 1999, she will always remain in my heart.

Everyone at C&T Publishing was saddened to learn of the passing of one of our longest-standing authors,  Blanche Young on January 2nd, 2016. We began our working relationship with Blanche and her daughter Helen back in 1987 when C&T took over the distribution, marketing and sales of several Young Publications titles, including:
  • The Lone Star Quilt Handbook
  • Trip Around the World Quilts
  • Flying Geese Quilts
  • Boston Commons Quilts
  • Radiant Nine Patch Quilts
  • Irish Chain Quilts
For C&T this partnership helped build out our catalog of titles and brought a powerhouse team on board who would go on to sell tens of thousands of copies of their publications.
Blanche had a wonderful sense of humor. There were so many occasions whereupon I would get off the phone with her and still be chuckling over something she'd said. To celebrate my marriage, Blanche made a stunning Lone Star Quilt for Jennifer and I which we still cherish to this day. Blanche had a keen eye for color and design. Her quilts sparkled and so did she. 
Blanche was an inspiring teacher. She took many traditional quilt patterns and figured out faster and more efficient methods for construction which became the basis for the many quilt books she co-wrote with her daughters.
In the Fall of 1988 C&T released The New Lone Star Handbook by Blanche Young and Helen Young Frost. That title went on to sell almost 30,000 copies. Another best-seller came in 1996 and 10 years later is still in print today. Tradition with a Twist by Blanche and her daughter Dalene Young Stone became an instant best-seller and has sold well over 85,000 copies.
Many people who worked at C&T recall working with Blanche fondly. Ruthmary Shauer, C&T Customer Service & Sales Rep credits Blanche with being a true inspiration for developing her passion for quilting. Publisher Amy Marson shares a humorous interaction she had with Blanche at Quilt Market: 
When we were at spring market in Portland several years ago, we were waiting outside for a taxi and they kept passing us by–I think you were trying to hail one. Blanche said she could get a taxi right away, she stepped out by herself, laughingly made a joke about how they will always stop for a little old lady, and the first taxi that came by stopped for her. Then we all walked out and got into the cab. She was so pleased with herself that she could *pretend* to be a little old lady when it suited her because in reality she was always young at heart. 
Blanche always kept you guessing! She will be dearly missed by all who knew her. Everyone at C&T would like to extend our deepest condolences to the Boberg and Young families.


Exuberantcolor/Wanda S Hanson said...

I started buying Blanche's books way back in the early 1980's and think I owned almost all of them at one time. I have passed some along to new quilters over the years. She was a pioneer of so many methods for quicker piecing.

The Idaho Beauty said...

Yes I am one of those old enough to remember Blanche although I haven't thought of her in years. I was ticking off the names of that early era of quilt teachers I learned from thanks to public television to my younger quilting friend yesterday and realized by the blank look on her face she had no idea who I was talking about. I knew I was leaving many out as my memory faltered - Blanche was one of them. I remember her as so calm and pleasant in her presentation and liked her way of putting a twist on those familiar patterns. Rest in peace, preferably wrapped in one of your beautiful quilts.

Lara B. said...

Mary that is sad news indeed. I am sorry for the loss of your friend Blanche - she sounds like the best sort of friend and a joy to have known. I have her book Tradition with a Twist and love it.

Sandy said...

It is such sad news to hear that Blanche Young has passed away. I own 4 of her books.