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Behind The Stitches: Cherrelle Shelton

“I’ve always been a creative person. I grew up watching my mom and aunts sewing and making so I always had a desire to learn"

Sam: Where are you from and where are you currently based? Also, should I call you Cherrelle or Relle during our chat?

Cherrelle: My name is Cherrelle, but everybody calls me Relle. I’m from Trenton, New Jersey and I’m currently based in Burlington, New Jersey.

Sam: Have you always been a creative person? Where do you think your love of crocheting comes from?

Relle: I’ve always been a creative person. I grew up watching my mom and aunts sewing and making so I always had a desire to learn. I actually learned to crochet when I was about 7 years old. My aunt was making a baby blanket for my little cousin and she taught me the single crochet stitch. She even let me crochet a small piece of the blanket she was working on. I’ve been crocheting ever since.

Sam: How did you learn to knit?

Relle: I taught myself to knit with Youtube videos and books from my local library. It’s funny because I was watching Once Upon A Time while pregnant with my youngest daughter and there was a scene where the character Granny was knitting the most beautiful baby blanket for Emma. I decided right in that moment that I would learn to knit so that I could make the same exact blanket for my EvaLilly.

Sam: Do you still have your first WIP? What was it?

Relle: I definitely do not have my first crochet WIP. When I was a kid I used to freestyle outfits for my dolls. I only knew one stitch at the time (single crochet, of course) so everything was very wonky with crazy tension. But, I still have my first knit WIP, the lavender baby blanket with lilac ribbon I made for EvaLilly a few weeks before she was born.

"When I pick up my needles or hook, it’s my time to breathe easy and let go of the stress from my day"

Sam: How has your relationship with your crafting practice changed over the years.

Relle: The first time I picked up a crochet hook I was so young. I was content with the one stitch that I learned from my aunt because I didn’t know that there was more. After graduate school, one of my co-workers at my first job taught me how to read patterns and it opened up a brand new world for me. But still, I used that new information to make baby blankets and scarves only. It wasn’t until I learned to knit that I really began to make other more complicated items. Now I have an Etsy Shop where I offer knit and crochet accessories, as well as some of my original patterns.

Sam: How many WIPs do you currently have on your needles or hooks? Or do you work on one WIP at a time?

Relle: I usually try to work on one WIP at a time, but these days that’s rare. I currently have 3 WIPs.

Sam: What has your crafting practice brought to your life?

Relle: Crafting is my “Me Time”. I’m a wife, mother of 3, and I have a full-time day job as well. When I pick up my needles or hook, it’s my time to breathe easy and let go of the stress from my day.

Sam: Can you tell us about your day job and how you balance your creative practice with everything else going on in your life?

Relle: I am a Research Scientist with the New Jersey Department of Health. My job is pretty time consuming, but I manage to slip in a few rows during my lunch break or commute. At home, my husband Rhys is very supportive. We look out for one another, making sure that we each get enough alone time to work on our creative projects.

"It’s okay to say no to knitting/crochet trends. Being authentic and creating original pieces is the most important key in my opinion"

Sam: When did you decide to launch your Etsy shop? Can you walk us through any major lessons you've learned from selling your work?

Relle: I launched my Etsy Shop in 2012 after encouragement from family and friends. It took a lot of pushing from people close to me before I built up the courage to post my first item. But I’m so glad they didn’t allow me to continue to procrastinate.

I’ve learned so many important lessons during my time as a shop owner, but I think the most important one was learning to say no. It’s okay to say no when asked to make a custom item that you do not offer in your shop. It’s okay to say no when you are asked to lower your prices. And most importantly, it’s okay to say no to knitting/crochet trends. Being authentic and creating original pieces is the most important key in my opinion.

Sam: I think that your satin-lined hats are wonderful! What is your favorite item in your Etsy shop?

Relle: Thank you! My very favorite item in my shop is a tie between my Satin-lined Jumbo Bow Earwarmer and my Snickerdoodle Beanie. They are both so fun to make and look adorable on the kids.

Sam: If you have some downtime and you can either knit, crochet, or read a really great book which one would you choose to do?

Relle: I love all three equally, but I go through little phases where all I want to do is knit, or crochet only, or binge-read a book series. So, it really depends on my mood at the time. Right now I’m in a knitting phase, but that can change quickly if I get my hands on a really awesome book.

Sam: Are there any books, youtube channels, or classes that really helped you with your creative practice when you were first learning?

Relle: It’s interesting because there’s no one book or Youtube channel in particular that comes to mind when I think of how I learned in the beginning of my creative practice. When learning a new skill I would simply type in the technique or stitch that I was interested in and select the tutorial/book that made the most sense to me. Now though, I’ve found Youtube channels like The Knitting Expat and RagingPurlWind that I go to for certain techniques like Brioche (Knitting Expat) and knitting bobbles (RagingPurlWind).

Sam: What do you like to binge-watch or listen to while you craft?

Relle: While crafting I will binge-watch anything from Grey’s Anatomy to I also love to watch Youtube podcasts like “Stitching Over the Days” by Constance Caddell, “The Corky Monday Craftcast” by Caleisha, “All Things Bookish” by Rachel Rae, and Amerie (just to name a few). I’ve just recently began listening to audiobooks through Audible and Chirp as well.


If you want to see more of Cherrelle's work you can follow her on Instagram @itsreallyrelle, Youtube, and shop her Etsy store.

Who should I talk to next? Leave your suggestions in the comments section along with any thoughts you have about Cherrelle's interview. I’m always on the hunt for inspiring crafters. Also, don't forget to follow along on my Instagram account @bobbleclubhouse for your daily dose of all things fiber. Until next time, happy crafting!


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