If you're one of the approximately 20 million people playing Pokémon Go (aka grownup '90s kids with a deferred dream of being an IRL Pokémon trainer), then you've caught your fair share of Pidgeys, Pikachus, and Zubats.
But we bet you haven't caught any Pokémon like these! A woman named Nichole Dunigan is bringing the game to the next level: She crochets miniature Pokémon characters, and leaves them at PokéStops for other players to find.
The whole idea started with a crocheted PokéBall toy, which she made for her son. (Can you say, "Coolest Mom Ever"?)
"He loved it," Dunigan says, "which made me think about the park next to our house. In the game, you find virtual Pokémon so the thought popped into my head about finding 'real' Pokémon! Having kids find them would be so amazing."
Feeling inspired, the mom left a crocheted Jigglypuff at a PokéStop near her local park. It was snatched up within an hour. And so what started as a funny inside joke with her son, quickly became a viral sensation she's calling "Crochet Go." The crocheted critters are a huge hit with Pokémon Go players in her hometown of Lewisville, Texas — among kids and kids-at-heart alike! She hides them at PokéStops everywhere.
And we mean everywhere: under bushes, flowerbeds, park water fountains, and even up in tree branches!
For Dunigan, the positive feedback from her community is all the more meaningful. "I was recently diagnosed with social anxiety and generalized anxiety, so I started playing Pokémon Go after receiving treatment as a way to branch out and meet people," she says. "That's what initially got me into the game."
Dunigan has made free patterns for at least a dozen different characters, including this perfectly crocheted Poliwag.
And this cool-looking Koffing.
And this sleepyheaded Snorlax.
And this smiling Squirtle.
And — saving the best for last — Pikachu!
Here's the best part: You can download free patterns to make each of these Pokemon (and more!) at Nichole's page, Nichole's Nerdy Knots. When they're this cute and cuddly, you've gotta crochet 'em all.