yarn pokeball

Photo via katili*made / Flickr (CC-BY-SA) Remix by Max Fleishman

‪The #CrochetGO‬ Facebook group has grown to over 1,000 members in just a few days.

One of the most enticing things about playing Pokémon GO is the way it encourages you to move around in the real world, experiencing a sort of virtual crossover where Pokémon are hiding everywhere.

But what if there were real Pokémon to be found at PokéStops too?

Thanks to self-described "crafty geek" and stay-at-home mom of two Nichole Dunigan, the next time you hit a PokéStop (GPS-mapped locations where players can refuel and get Poké Balls, potions, etc.), you might find an unexpected discovery.

Dunigan calls it #CrochetGO, and her project started as a personal hobby. The expert crafter crochets Pokémon that are perfectly identical to the characters in the game—from Squirtle to Bellsprout and more.

Bellsprout :) #crochetgo #pokemongo

A photo posted by Nichole (@knottynichole) on

Dunigan began by posting photos of the crocheted figures to her Instagram account. Soon after, she had the brilliant idea to hide the cute, fuzzy creatures at real PokéStops in her town of Lewisville, Texas, for Pokémon hunters to find.

Dunigan was featured on her local news station CW33, which said she was overwhelmed by online orders for the crocheted monsters. But there's just one problem: They aren't for sale. Just like on the game, you have to go on a treasure hunt and find where Dunigan hides the knotty Pokémon. If you spot one, you get to keep it.

Downtown Carrollton #crochetgo #pokemongo

A photo posted by Nichole (@knottynichole) on

Hid this guy at the park today hehe

A photo posted by Nichole (@knottynichole) on

So many people have responded to Dunigan's cute crochet figures, she decided to launch a Facebook group for fellow crafters interested in making IRL Pokémon to hide in their own cities and towns. The #CrochetGO group was created on August 17, and two days later had over 1,000 members—with many posting photos of their crafting progress.

Members of the #CrochetGO Facebook group live all over the U.S. and beyond—a quick scan through the latest posts showed members getting ready to hide piles of crocheted Pokémon in the Netherlands and Belgium.

Dunigan also encouraged players lucky enough to stumble across hidden crocheted Pokémon to post their finds using the #crochetgo hashtag.

A kid named Mario looked absolutely thrilled with the Zubat he found at a PokéStop.

This is so adorable! Mario found this at the bauer playing Pokèmon w Aaron. ☺️ #CrochetGo #PokèmonGo #Zubat

A photo posted by Leida Velasquez (@leidavelasquez) on

Some crafters even posted photos of the Pokémon after they were hidden, leaving subtle clues for players who might be in on the secret sub-game.

Jiggly puff needs a home! #crochetgo

A photo posted by Cady Geer (@saintcady) on

Dunigan said on Facebook that she doesn't plan to start selling the crocheted 'mons no matter how many times people ask.

"I am in love with designing them and making them to hide," she wrote on the page Nichole's Nerdy Knots. "Also, I kinda like that you have to find them in the wild to have one! Anywhere I travel I'll be dropping them off, so keep an eye on my feed for locations."

The most brilliant part of Dunigan's magical, free project? She's made all of the Pokémon patterns available for free on Ravelry so inspired crafters can join in the fun.

Gotta craft 'em all.

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Meet the Pokémoms
Angie used to walk just two or three miles per week. Like a lot of suburban moms, she lived a fairly sedentary life. Her hometown of Largo, Florida, is mostly houses and sprawl—strip malls with parking lots that make it easier to drive from place to place than walk around. Her 11-year-old son was pretty sedentary at home, too, playing a lot of Xbox—he was “glued to” to the game, she said. She used a Google Fit app to measure how many steps she took each day, but it wasn’t ...
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