Tobey’s Sand Hill Fiber Farm, Reedsburg, WI
Bob and Brenda Tobey
Nestled in a picturesque valley near Loganville is Tobey’s Sandhill Fiber Farm. The owners Brenda and Bob Tobey have lived there with their three children for 30 years. You will be greeted by the family dog, Leo, who loves visitors and the pastures are dotted with the animals that supply the raw wool for the industry. The llamas, alpacas, goats, sheep and rabbits that run free on the beautiful hilly wooded acreage are pleasant to watch. The animals are bred, birthed and raised with loving care. Their fleeces are sheared, washed, dyed, and processed by machines on location and at Mystic Waters Fiber Mill. All steps from raw wool to finished goods have Brenda’s special techniques and imagination imbibed in them.
The fiber shop is a converted granary with rustic barn walls and hand-made light fixtures hanging from the beams and designed to give off an ambience of olden days. A bedstead recycled into a bench, and tables contrived from antique doors, all combine to make it an exceptional site. The walls are hung with skeins of wool, some natural, some dyed, and all named for the animal they were taken from. There are beautiful hand spun dyed lots of wool for your perusal and finished items Brenda has made.
Several looms are displayed where Brenda weaves rugs and scarves which can be purchased. Brenda has chosen an industry that has been a source of income and tradition in her family for generations. Her German ancestor genes have aided her in this business.
Author Kenneth Kraemer writes “The ancestors of the Kraemers of Plain, Wisconsin were weavers from at least 1649 to 1866. The chain was broken when Paul Kraemer emigrated from Irlach, Bavaria to Wisconsin and became a full-time farmer. Now weaving has been picked up again by modern Kraemers – Brenda Kraemer Tobey and her daughter Alexandria of Tobey’s Sand Hill Fiber Farm in Reedsburg.” Please check out the Kraemers.
Brenda also owns an antique circular sock knitting machine that began it use during World War I as a cottage industry to supply socks for the soldiers. A program for ownership of the machines after fulfilling the government quota gave women the opportunity to earn money for themselves while helping the war effort and was very beneficial in a desperately poor economy. The socks are knitted in all sized and beautiful colors. They are warm and long wearing with no toe seams which makes them extremely comfortable to wear.
Brenda’s love of fibers began early with sewing and quilting. She is talented in many artistic mediums. Her ability to combine color, design and imagination makes all of her projects unique and desirable. You will be amazed at the delightful items on display. Baskets from Ghana hang from the ceiling, painted wine glasses, tabletoppers, dryer balls and other miscellaneous items make the shop interesting. Anyone who loves home-made items and wool connoisseurs will appreciate stopping to see this exhibit.