I met Elke at the Caribbean Park Market (Caribbean Gardens) where she has a stall three times a week when they're open (Wed, Fri, Sun). Some walk past her stall expecting everything to be dirt cheap because it's the markets after all. For those who stop and check, they'll see that her crocheted woolies are made from a combination of 100% pure wool and 30% of its content is 100% alpaca wool. At approximately $15 a ball for alpaca wool, it's not the cheapest to knit or crochet with. However as we all know, for those chilly mornings and days there's nothing like wearing pure wool to keep you warm.
When you enter the main entrance of the Caribbean Park Market pavillion, head towards the back down the centre strip directly from the fruit and veg stalls at the entrance that separates the market into left and right, and you'll find Elke on the right, looking at the back wall. She has beanies in two different lengths, headbands that work well as ear warmers and gloves with prices ranging from $13 to $19.
Hailing from Heidelberg in Germany, Elke worked as a secretary in Hotel Management for over 16 years before heading for Australian shores. Her wooly adventure started when her mother-in-law bought her a Patons beanie and glove pattern and some Aussie wool. She hasn't looked back since.
She's had a stall at the Caribbean Park Market (they changed their name recently) for 17 years selling other artefacts and books and introduced the woollen items to her stall 7 years go. What started out as fun has now earned her regular customers who know the quality of the wool and come in and order matching beanies for their sporting team or ask Elke to customise colours that fit in with their own unique style.
Elke tells me she spends about 6 hours a day crocheting, and as all us knitters know, you'll never get what an item is truly worth in time and quality material. In her usual sense of humour Elke says she must be crazy doing what she does, but it gives her a lot of joy.
The best part about this lady for me is her friendliness, her wit and her lovely down to earth personality, so don't be afraid to stop by and say hello and check out her quality hand-made woollens for those chilly winters.