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Georgetown woman sews quilts and bears with loved ones clothing

Georgetown woman creates memory bears out of loved ones clothing
Posted at 11:25 PM, Jun 09, 2024

GEORGETOWN, Ky. (LEX 18) — A Georgetown woman is bringing the memory of a loved one to life through clothing with her business, 'Quilts and Bears.'

Ruth Washburn discovered her ability to sew a loved ones piece of clothing into a forever memory bear eight years ago. She used the life skill as a creative outlet until a co-worker of hers encouraged her to do more with it. Slowly, she took those threads and weaved it into a passion project, Quilts and Bears.

"So this is where I do most of my magic, most of my work is done right here," explains Washburn. "That bear right there is actually my grandmother's bear for my mom when she passed and the smaller bear next to it is my younger daughter, her clothes."

Washburn also works a full time job, but when she's not on the clock she's in her creative space. Spending four hours to sew one bear and stitching four bears weekly. To her, it doesn't feel like work.

She starts by receiving a shirt from someone who wants a memory bear. Then she cuts off the sleeves and gets started on her bear measurements. If there are any special requests like, a voice box, pocket or an item to be stitched on she will accommodate for that.

"Having something to hold onto, you're not going to lose that teddy bear. It's just rewarding. It touches my heart. It just almost makes me want to cry," Washburn explains.

She admits, "I wonder what they were really like alive, you know. We're they caring? We're they always helpful to others?"

Ruth says the little touches added to each bear is what makes them so unique to each individuals story: "This one is for the father, so they have 'Dad' on the paws and I put a heart on the other paw."

"I also like to save the collars. Here is a bear, I saved the collar and put the collar around the bear," says Washburn.

Ruth doesn't just create memory bears though. She also spends 25 hours creating memory quilts and sometimes even memory pillows.

"Within the week she passed, I realized how important that little quilt was. With all the ties and prayers that people put on it. So this is my first quilt," Wahsburn describes.

After she created her first quilt for her grandma, she went forward with creating dozens of others. She says graduation time tends to be a very popular time for t-shirt quilts. She has also quilted special designs, photographs and any other crafty items someone may have.

"The most reward I can ever get. Knowing that someone has something tangible to hold onto besides just a picture," says Washburn.

She hopes to continue sewing quilts and bears for the next 30 years, and bring more smiles to peoples faces.

If you would like to have one of your own made, you can visit the Quilts and Bears Facebook page.