Ray began his career as a licensed aircraft mechanic and spent three years, then worked on appliance repair. But working nights in Chicago wasn’t where he wanted to be, so he began working for UPS. He spent 31 years as a driver, then retired in 1996.
Ray’s wife, Mary, has always been savvy with sewing – making clothing, blankets, anything with a stitch in it! Mary grew up with quilting, and she found she has a natural flair for combining colors. Over the years she’s stitched together hundreds of items – from pieced blankets to backpacks – and learned there was a need for quilt finishers.
It seemed natural when Ray retired that they should combine their skills and passion for quilting. Ray began delivering long arm quilting machines in 1999, learning the ins and outs of the machines from the dealer and from Ken Gammill, a leader in the long arm quilting industry. Ray works with all the major brands, and Mary often accompanies him on his travels to help with troubleshooting, maintenance and repair.
At one point in his new career, Ray helped install stitch regulators with Zoltan Kasa. That’s when he realized a few improvements could be made. He invented a tape measures just for the long arm quilter: One with a zero center tape that’s 14 feet long to center the quilt. Ray also developed the Front-mounted Tri-Spool Holder after receiving email after email from people who wanted to be able to load their threads from the front of the machine, rather than the back. As its name implies, the Front-mounted Tri-Spool Holder holds up to three colors of thread. Its convenient design makes it easy to attach to the long arm quilting machine.
Ray also continues to teach repair and repair machines and design parts and accessories to help make quilting easer . Mary teaches quilting and spends a lot of her time finishing quilt projects with the long arm machine they purchased in 2001.