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Planning Retirement Online

Handicrafts in later life    August 2006


The Handicrafts Column

Crochet this fabulous colourful bag


Crochet this fabulous bag and, if you get well and truly hooked on the latest needlecraft craze to be revived, treat yourself to our special offer.

In this age of high technology and mechanisation, it is both creative and therapeutic
to find a craft that is simple to execute. Crochet is a wonderful, hands-on experience: a stitch begins and ends with only one loop on the hook, so it can be worked to create wonderful crunchy textures or fabulous lace.

Compared to other handcrafts, crochet is fast to work. Early crochet patterns used hooks the same size as knitting needles, but a crochet stitch is half as thick again as a knitted stitch. If you use a larger hook, crochet becomes softer, drapes more easily, uses less yarn and grows rapidly.

Uses for crochet include edgings, braids, buttons, decorative motifs on knitted or woven items, as well as customising “off the peg” garments. Crochet is endlessly versatile and an enormous range of articles can be made.

So, pick up your hook and start crocheting this fantastic bag.

Pauline Turner


Coral Bag

in chain and slip stitch

The quickly made, versatile Coral Bag is an attractive accessory that you can simply unfold for use in emergencies. It is made using just slip stitch and chain stitch, worked in a simple tube shape and joined at the lower edge after completion. It can be lined with a toning or contrasting color.

Slip stitch is just a variation of a chain, and a lovely open fabric can be made using only chain and slip stitch. The fabric is extremely flexible and does not hold its shape unless it is lined. It is an accommodating fabric that takes the shape of whatever it covers, so it is not recommended for items that need to stay firm. It is, however, the perfect fabric for foldaway shopping bags, loose cover-ups, drapes, netting for the vegetable patch or even string singlets!

You will need

150g DK weight cotton yarn
4.50mm hook
Size: width13in;
length 16in
Tension: 2 x 5chsp lps measure 2in;
4 rows (2 diamonds) measure 1?in

Note: the tension given is approximate because of the fabric’s flexibility.


Coral Bag

Make a slip knot, leaving a 6–8in yarn end. Work 112ch. Try to ensure that the ch is not twisted.

Row 1: sl st into 8th ch from hook, *5ch, miss 3ch, sl st in next ch, rep from * to end
(27 x 5ch loops).
Row 2 (to form a tube): Fold work in half, making sure all the loops face upwards, and that the tighter starting ch is at the bottom. Work 5ch, sl st in sp made by the first 8ch lp on row 1. You will now have 28 x 5ch loops. Work *5ch, 1sl st in next 5chsp, rep from * until work measures 16in. Make sure the final row ends in line with the point where you began (marked by the 6–8in yarn end).

Finishing row (optional)
Place 5sc into each lp.
Note: this Coral Bag (see the photograph opposite) is finished in this way. The lined White Bag (see page 23) drapes better without a finishing row.

Drawstring handle
Divide the remaining yarn into three small balls. Using an I hook and three strands of yarn, make a chain 55in long. Fasten off.

To complete
Thread the chain through the loops at the top of the bag. Attach the two ends securely to the bottom. Close the base of the bag by sewing or joining the edges with slip stitch.

Starting chain and first row


Second row added



To order a copy of Beginners Guide to Crochet by Pauline Turner published by Search Press Ltd at ?7.95 (?8.95 rrp) post free in the UK, call Search Press on




Tel 01892 510 850 quoting Laterlife.



Previous editions in this series:

Edition 1 Tea Bag Folding

Edition 2 Celtic knots


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