Pokemon Go has become a global phenomenon for allowing people to catch Pokemon in the real world, but the experience is still limited to digital characters on a cell phone screen. A woman from Lewisville has gone viral for taking the concept even further and leaving real (crocheted) Pokemon at various Dallas Pokestops for people to find.
Nichole Dunigan made a crochet Pokeball for her 5-year-old son, and he loved it. "He kept throwing it at the dog," she says over the phone. "It was a big hit with him." So she started thinking of a way to spread that joy around to other children.
"There's a playground right down the road. I bike there every day," she says. "It's in a park. So I thought, 'Well, it would be really cool if I left these around there, kind of out in the open but hidden slightly so that little kids could find them."
The catch? Adults were finding (and loving) them too. After Dunigan's first batch of crocheted Pokemon, people were already starting to take notice. People on Reddit communities were sharing photos of the Pokemon they found, and major video game websites like Kotaku were writing about them.
Dunigan has no plans to sell the crocheted Pokemon, even though making them takes time. "The Pokeball takes about 30 minutes. Some of the [Pokemon themselves] take about two hours. But the average is about an hour," she says.
Instead, she's put all of the crochet patterns online — for free — so that people can make their own. Whether you want a flat Magikarp, an adorable Squirtle, a happy Oddish or a Pokeball to catch them all with, the designs are readily available for you.
"I've been a designer for about three years, and I love designing patterns for free because I love contributing to the creative crochet world," she says. "Especially since there aren't a lot of quality free patterns out there. So with the Pokemon, I can leave these for free, and other people can start making them too and maybe it will catch on and that will be awesome. Because it's just so cool seeing little kids and even adults finding them and getting so excited. I've had so many people tell me that it made their day to find Pokemon."
If you visit her Ravelry page, Nichole's Nerdy Knots, you'll quickly see that she's no stranger to this sort of thing. She's also uploaded patterns including Toothless from How to Train Your Dragon, a bird from Angry Birds, a Big Daddy from Bioshock and various other geeky crochets.
It's not her first time being popular for a video game-related craft, either. She previously got attention for a Super Mario Bros. quilt that she designed (a pattern for that is also available for free).
"A lot of people have asked if they can do this themselves," Dunigan says. "And I just want them to know that, you absolutely can. It's really cool seeing people from Scotland, Denmark, Germany and Australia, all these different countries contacting me and telling me that they're doing it in their countries. It's really awesome. Everyone can use the hashtag #CrochetGo."
Find more geeky Dallas stuff at GuideLive.com/geek