Labors of Love: Crocheting with Boosegumps’ Heeyoon Won

By Amy Garlesky

Musicians don’t always stick to music; often, musicians are “multipotentialites,” as in, people with multiple creative pursuits. To learn more about the different passion projects our favorite musicians find comfort in and promote their work, we created our ongoing series Labors of Love.

This time around, we chatted with Philadelphia-based musician, Heeyoon Won, from the project, Boosegumps, to discuss their crochet work. During our conversation, we delved into how their interest in crocheting started, how it relates to their musical process, and their favorite crime TV shows at the moment. Check out our conversation and a preview of Heeyoon’s work below.

Slumber: What inspired you to learn how to crochet? And when did you start? 

Heeyoon: I learned how to crochet and knit from my grandma when I was little, but I gave up pretty quickly probably because I’d rather be rollerblading outside. But then sometime around 2016, I randomly had the urge to start crocheting again. I must have seen some really cool knitwear on Instagram and thought, “I WANNA DO THAT” That’s honestly how most of my hobbies get started.

Slumber: What’s your favorite piece you’ve ever made?

Heeyoon: I think my favorite piece is my big granny square blanket. It’s the first crochet project I started and finished so I’m really proud of it. I just love how big it is and how colorful it is. It’s not perfect but I learned so much about crocheting along the way.

Slumber: You tend to work a lot with bright, contrasting colors, do you think that’s an intentional choice? 

Heeyoon: I feel like having fun with color combinations and using bold colors is what crocheting is all about! I love using bright colors, it just cheers me up. Especially if I’m putting it somewhere in my home, I like having pops of bright colors here and there to contrast all of the wooden furniture and floors around my house.

Slumber: You mentioned to me you love to crochet with your cats nearby and a true crime show on tv. What’s your favorite crime show currently? 

Heeyoon:  Anything on Investigation Discovery! But I’ve pretty much seen everything on there so lately I’ve been watching a lot of true crime storytelling videos on youtube. I also love Forensic Files and will watch the whole series over and over.

Slumber: Music and crocheting are both very creative and artistic outlets. Are there similarities and/or differences in how you relate to each of those arts? Places where the two might intersect? 

Heeyoon: It’s so satisfying to write a new song and to crochet, to see different pieces come together as one. Each piece can be really simple or really intricate but when they are stitched together, they can create something unique. I also love how forgiving both disciplines are. If you mess up, you can re-record or unravel the stitches and do it again. I think that’s why I’m not afraid to experiment and just have fun.

Slumber: What type of piece is the most fun to create? Anything you’ve wanted to make but haven’t yet?

Heeyoon: I really love making wearable knits, they’re really challenging to make but it’s super rewarding when they come out exactly how you want them to. One of my favorite wearables are sweaters because there’s so many different ways to make them and it requires such detail and discipline. I always try to use a new technique for each sweater I make just to see how they will turn out.

Slumber: You mentioned to me that, especially in the beginning, you didn’t follow patterns well and experimented a lot. Can you say a little bit more on how you experiment–how do some of your pieces break technique?

Heeyoon: I think because I taught myself how to crochet just by looking at a piece and making up “patterns” as I go, I never learned how to read actual patterns from books and online. I’ve tried but they’re so confusing and I feel like I’m reading a different language. Kind of my approach to songwriting and playing music, I mostly write and play songs by ear and what sounds good to me rather than write down chords or read music. But I do find youtube tutorials to be incredibly helpful. I love that people took the time to turn written patterns into something visual so people like me can follow along. 

Slumber: Outside of other crochet artists, where do you find inspiration for your work?

Heeyoon: I get my inspirations from all over the place, but a lot of it comes from my needs. If I need something for my house or my wardrobe, I think first, “can I crochet that?” before I go online to purchase it. A lot of my designs are very simple, mostly made of granny squares so a lot of my designs come from my head but I do look in other places for color choices. I’ll look around my house or look at pictures in books or go on Instagram to find a color palette that seems appealing at that moment.

Slumber: How have you been spending your time during the pandemic? Have you started any new hobbies, or more generally, any new part of life you’ve discovered that creatively inspires/excites you?

Heeyoon: Other than crocheting, my other biggest hobby is collecting plants and taking care of them. I finally have some outdoor space now so I will be doing some outdoor gardening as well. I’m planning on growing lots of varieties of flowers so I can make arrangements for myself and my friends this summer. I’ve also been playing a lot of Stardew Valley and hanging out with my partner Buzz and my cat Otis. 

One of my big purchases during quarantine was a harp, that I actually had to build myself. It came as a kit and I had to glue everything and string the harp. I’ve always wanted to play the harp so it was super exciting to finally be able to learn. 

Slumber: Lastly, do you have any words of advice for anyone interested in learning to crochet?

Heeyoon: Crocheting takes lots of patience and practice. My biggest advice is to first learn all the basics, get familiar with the needle, and learn how to join pieces together, etc. Once you have those in your toolbelt and practice, you should be able to look at something and recreate it. You can always find patterns or watch youtube tutorials if you’re lost!

See more of Heeyoon’s work on their Instagram page

and listen to the latest from their project Boosegumps below: