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A Week With Ray
by Carmon Henry

We are finally settling back in and getting caught up after being gone for a couple of weeks, doing something I have wanted to do for years.

My 15-year-old son, Christian, and I had the distinct honor of spending a week with Ray White. If any of you are not familiar with Ray, he is generally regarded as the worldwide master of sewing machine knowledge. Ray’s expertise of sewing machine mechanics covers everything from basic home model machines to industrial factory machines. Ray even told us about his experience assisting NASA with problems they were having sewing heat shields for the space shuttle. In this world of modern, throw-away sewing machines, Ray desires to pass on the knowledge of servicing and maintaining vintage sewing machines. It is truly a dying art.

While it is true I have made a career out of our love for the Singer Featherweight (and although we are not seeking to branch out into servicing other models) I have had a great desire to glean the universal comprehension behind all sewing machines. The knowledge I have attained over the past decade through hands on experience as well as interaction from others dedicated to the Singer 221 & 222 models has been considerable. However, my son and I both desired to learn and become certified from Ray personally. The class was an unprecedented learning opportunity for both of us and well worth the effort (4710 miles round trip!) It was great to learn from Ray and build a wonderful friendship. After a couple days of class, the mechanics became clear to Christian and he soon was understanding and servicing a wide array of sewing machines. He received great personal attention from a friend of Ray’s (Cathy Nelson) who had come out from California to assist Ray for the week. Cathy is a wealth of knowledge on vintage sewing machines, and was a joy to spend the week with. I think she wanted to adopt Christian as her grandson!

As we expand our classes into more territories my son, Christian, has assumed the role of Apprentice. He is also becoming well known to many of you as he frequently answers technical and servicing questions on our Singer Featherweight 221 & 222 Facebook Group. In our Basic and Advanced Featherweight Maintenance Classes he is invaluable as a second Featherweight Technician, allowing us to give more individualized attention throughout the class. As you can probably guess by now, he thoroughly enjoys the Featherweight - especially the history and changes Singer made to the machine throughout the years. (Thank you, Son, for all your help – you are a blessing to me!)

Our trip across the country wouldn’t be considered a family vacation if it was “all work and no play”, so here are a few pictures of family time we spent together.

April and I at Mt. Rushmore

The WWI Museum was incredible.... but apparently it was very bright outside!

At the top of the Liberty Memorial at the WWI Museum in Kansas City, Missouri

Our daughter visiting an American Girl doll store for the first time.

Christian holding up the St. Louis Arch

A "quick" stop at Missouri Star Quilt Company

(there is no such thing as a quick stop at MSQCo.)

I hope your summer has been a memorable one! We look forward to assisting you with your Featherweight needs, and hopefully meeting someday on our travels.

Stay tuned because we will be announcing shortly where our Featherweight Maintenance Class Tour will take us next year!