In 1981, Ronald Reagan was president of the United States. The population of San Luis Obispo City 28,000 and is now about 44,000. "Raiders of the Lost Ark" was popular movie theaters. The City was home to a small, agricultural college called Cal Poly.
A little store called Calico and Canvas was located on Chorro Street across from the Mission, and was operated by a lady named Mary Russell. The shop sold quilting fabric and needlepoint canvas. Some of the regular shoppers started meeting to exchange quilting information and share patterns. They started with five individuals meeting at Mary's duplex. When the number of got to 13, it was tight. They moved to the YMCA, then located on Santa Rosa St. That was challenging due to the noise from the enthusiastic basketball players and the courts being so close to the meeting room.
The group of quilters soon sought other quarters and relocated to the Church of the Nazarene where Judy Mueting was an active member. The space was huge and there were tables big enough to pin quilts! It was a huge milestone when attendance reached 100.
When SLO Quilters began, it was the first and only quilt guild in the County of San Luis Obispo. It was always the intent for Guild to branch out into the surrounding cities and communities. And yet, when our sisters left to begin their own Guilds in their own towns, we hated to see them go. Today there are seven guilds on the Central Coast: Almond Country, Bear Valley, Central Coast Quilters, Gold Coast, Old Town, Santa Maria Valley, and SLO Quilters!
Since 1996,when we officially started counting our community quilts, SLO Quilters has made and donated 3,178 quilts for victims of child abuse, domestic violence, children and adults with cancer, and babies born to young, unwed mothers, or if we know about someone who is just having a particularly difficult time. We have participated in small quilt auctions, a variety of quilt shows--from several of our own to an extravaganza of a multi-guild show at the Madonna Expo. We keep in mind our primary charter is 501cE, meaning we’re here to educate quilters. From a handful of women, a group of shoppers, we have changed the landscape of the County in relationship to quilting.