FLEMING — The whirring sounds of machinery and friendly chatter made up the soundtrack of a quilting project in Fleming Saturday.
Stephanie McCall, who organized the event, and 15 other volunteers were at work cutting and piecing fabric at the Auburn Masonic Lodge No. 124 with the goal of creating two twin-sized quilts as welcoming gifts for the eventual owners of two Cayuga County Habitat for Humanity houses. McCall, who runs the business Quilts by Commission, said that if the group didn't finish the quilts Saturday she would finish them herself.
The quilt with a pinwheel pattern was chosen for one home. While the occupant for the structure hasn't been determined yet, McCall said, a "patriotic pattern" with red, white and blue was chosen, as Julie Lockhart, executive director for Cayuga County Habitat, said "we would love to find" a veteran for that home.
McCall thanked the masonic lodge for allowing the quilters to use their space for free and Patchwork Plus Quilt Shop of Marcellus and Quilters Corner of Ithaca for donating the fabric they used. She said she held this event last year and that there is already interest in a third year.
"I'm hopeful this will continue to be a wonderful project for the community to welcome new homeowners," she said.
Volunteers cut fabric at some tables while others pieced them together. Sisters Linda Brown and Jane Posner went through pieces of fabric quickly and with precision at separate tables. Brown said she enjoyed volunteering and that she and Posner, who are retired and live together in King Ferry, didn't know many people when they first moved to the hamlet but met others through quilting. She noted that she met people Saturday through the project.
"I like the sense of community, being with different people and the camaraderie you build up, the friendships," Brown said.
Volunteer Pat Messina, who said she has been quilting for around 30 years, also helped out for last year's event. She said she enjoyed meeting people and learning tips such as cutting and piecing quilts together more efficiently.
McCall and Lisa Wennberg, who went over the patriotic design, said a lot of time and effort goes into making the pattern appear random to avoid having too much of one color on any section of the quilt. They said the event allowed them to volunteer and flex their creative muscles.
Lockhart said she believes the quilts go a long way toward making "a house a home" and allows volunteers to help through quilting instead of Habitat activities such as building homes.
"It's love," Lockhart said. "You can literally wrap yourself in it."