The Violette Project

” In your own quiet way, you can bestow strength on others in your community by using your hands and some yarn.” -Betsy Greer

This quote is exactly how I felt when receiving a message from one of “test knitters” a couple months ago that broke my heart and sent me into a sobbing crying for the better part of the day. The message was heartfelt, but very sad and tragic.

” Hi Ashlee,
I am one of your test knitters (slouchy hat and baby tutu) and I just recently lost my baby girl. I named her Violette and I just saw the snowball hat that you knit with the purple Violette on top and I am taking this as a sign that my baby girl is saying hello to me from heaven through your knitting. I just wanted to share that with you and that your creation made my broken heart smile.
thank you

The Hat that started it all
The Hat that started it all

This touched me so much for many reasons. First of, I am Mom and the thought of losing child is my worst fear, in fact my mind can’t even go there. Second, although I never met “M” in person, through the test knitting she has done for me , I did feel she was a knitting friend. I knew she was expecting a baby and when she test knitted the “knitted tutu” pattern , she was the first one with her project done and I was so excited to see that tutu on her new baby girl that was due  to  arrive at anytime. In fact, I had been so nervous about releasing the pattern that when her e-mail came,showing off her project and “M” expressing not only her excitement for her daughter but also for my pattern, I was overjoyed. I remember reading it out loud to Mr.Smashlee, because I was so happy someone liked my pattern. She also included a picture of elmo wearing the tutu and the mini loved this picture so much, I had to put a tutu on our own elmo. Her test knitting stood out in my mind, and as the weeks passed I did find my mind wondering how they were doing.

In my own family, around this time we found out  a little boy would be joining our Smashlee family, and Mr. Smashlee’s sister became a mom for the first time to a baby girl. This made what had happened to “M” hit home a little harder. As it really makes you realize how precious life is.

When I received “M” message about her loss, I couldn’t even breathe. I felt aboustley devesated for her and her family. I cannot not even imagine how she and her hubby must be feeling and coping.  I have never lost a baby , so I can’t comprehend what the pain must be like but, by knowing how I feel about my mini and  her soon be born brother, to lose them at any stage of their life would be more than heartbreaking.

That leads me back to the quote I opened this post with.

” In your own quiet way, you can bestow strength on others in your community by using your hands and some yarn.” -Betsy Greer

I cannot make “M’s” pain go away or bring her daughter back. In fact, to “M” and her family, I am just a woman who knits a lot,  but, regardless, I wanted to help in any way I could. So once I composed my self enough to write “M” back I offered to donate  the hats I was currently making for my charity project, to the hostpial of her choice, in memory of her daughter.

This is how “The Violette Project” ” came to be. As I coutined to corresponde with “M” ,it became more clear to me that this was the right thing to do. Knitting has a way of touching , connecting and healing people. I want her daughter’s memory to live on, because any life, no matter how small, matters. I will never meet Violette and I may never meet her sweet parents but, ever since I knew of her short life, she has been on my mind every day as I knit and crochet baby hats. I hug my own daughter more, and paiently wait the arrival of my baby boy, knowing that at any moment, it could all disspear. Nothing is for sure. I want to help those who have suffered a loss of any kind to houour those who have passed.

“The Violette Project” initially will be 70 hats donated to a Canadian hostpial in honour of “M’s” daughter. However, my intention is to spread the love and my knitting to anyone who is in need. What this means is through you will be able to contact me to request knitted items be donated to a charity, organization, or hostpial of your choice in honour of yourself or someone who you have lost or who is sick. You can request anything, from baby hats to a blanket for the homeless. You will infomation on how  to contact me and in which you can e-mail me with your request. It is my hope that through this project, a community can be created where we can spread some love, and help those who need to heal. If you are a crafter, you can take part too, by either helping someone in your own community or if you would like to part of ” The Violette Project” you can contact me for futher info, either through or through my e-mail . All items that will sent out to charities & organizations will be at no cost to those request them. I am donating my time and resources to make this happen, because I really feel as a knitter  we can change the world with yarn.


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