A Ladies Sewing Kit…

by forrest fenn

Many of the objects in my collection are significant in a very small depiction of world history. Most are more interesting than they are important. Nevertheless, it is necessary for me to remember that each piece represents who we once were in a time that used to be, and that I will never be anything more than its temporary custodian. 



Yucca flowerAmerica’s ancient western mountains were set aside for silence, except for a constant throaty wind that whispered through the cedar breaks and ponderosas. That was the setting when an Anasazi woman in Northern Arizona cut a 25” leaf of agave of yucca. It was a cactus that grew near her spacious rock-shelter home.

She constantly twisted the leaf as she beat it with a stick against a rock. The process of transforming it into an important part of her sewing kit probably took several hours. Ingenuity was a necessity and she must have hoped that each day she would think of some other kind of useful invention.

The Indian woman mixed her leafy tool in a blob of mud and left only an inch of its needle nose exposed. It was protected from the aggressive jaws of hungry vermin.

And that’s how I found it, resting on her metate for 1,200 years, waiting for me to come along and write its biography. Don’t you just love stories like that?



74 thoughts on “A Ladies Sewing Kit…

    • I hope this chest is not sitting in some cactus plant or around poison ivy if u are brave and in the wood.

      Forrest thinks this is funny. Your effort will be worth the cold sure would u would be there awhile trying to figure out how to get it

      I suggest bring long gloves on your search lol

      In one if his books there us a cactus in it 🙁

  1. That sure is something to admire. I wish I had your knowledge, Forrest, prior to this chase as I believe I came across something similar. I hadn’t recognized it for what it was. I will have to remember the teachings you have shared tacitly. I don’t recall where I had come across it. I hope next time befalls me.

  2. Another great story. That is incredible. I’m sure the Indian woman was also unaware that after she set it down…for the last time…that Forrest would be the one to pick it up. I think that somewhere…somehow…she is grateful that someone realized the hard life she lived and desired to share that with others. Even more incredible is the idea that when life is through…and time is no longer a “linear” event…that Forrest can meet that woman face-to-face…and friend-to-friend.

  3. Point of horticultural interest, agave plants flower once and die while yucca flower and continue living. I don’t believe an agave of yucca exists but perhaps that possibility is on the horizon.

    • Sissel, I’m sure that is just a typo – the phrase should be “agave OR yucca” as you can make needles and threads from both plants.

      I just love forrest’s stories as I always learn a thing or two from every one of them . Today I learned how to make a needle and thread for an emergency repair if there are any agave or yucca plants around and I learned what a metate is. I also think I learned that looking for the treasure is like looking for a needle in a mud ball. 🙂

      • Let’s ask!

        Dal, calling Dal! Would you please ask Forrest if he made a typo or if he really meant “agave of yucca”? THANKS!

          • So he means an “Agave of [NM]”? Or maybe he’s saying it’s an Agave of Yucca, AZ. 🙂

          • Recently he said something to the effect that he reserves the right to be wrong. To me that means you should look at what is wrong with what he says. 🙂

          • This is the type that is the NM state flower. They are not as common as other types of yuccas :
            Yucca schidigera

            Agave plants can cause some serious skin problems , so I am thinking he was talking about yuccas.

    • Sissel, I noticed that last night; so I researched the topic. I couldn’t find anything that would verify the correctness of that statement. “Agave of yucca” doesn’t make sense. I will stand corrected if someone can explain it.

      So is he giving us a weird clue we have to figure out; or is he just checking to see if we are awake.



      • My thoughts too Goofy. Plus Agave are not cacti. Forrest said he “felt” it was accurate – maybe he has some meaning all his own! There must be some hidden clue in there somewhere. 🙂

      • Goofy, I haven’t been checking the blog and wondered if Forrest explained how he extracted the Agave needle and thread, and how it was cleaned for preservation. Not looking for answers or clues… Rather truly curious about the preservation process.

  4. In dry places things last forever. That is why it’s essential to look for a place that the chest is well protected from water.

  5. Many things are left behind not by choice. Last year I purchased my very first storage locker through bidding not knowing what expect. It was 12 feet wide and 40 feet deep. The height varied to the back. I still haven’t gone though the records and maps that seem to be a path to somewhere in the past. The name Grey Eagle surfaced here and there. As I loaded the dumpster, I came across a small cloth wrapped inside were 2 knives. I didn’t think much but it was strange. The other night I was researching and in someone’s past collection and I found what appears to be the same knive. I am not sure if I still have the items or I discarded them. It just took me back to a time of a treasure kept from a battle won.
    Anyway, I did not take any pictures. So now I photograph everything. In one of collections with my love. I came across a very similar item just like the sewing kit. What is funny it was in 2 different states. Now how can that be I ask. I guess I can’t trust my trash can.

  6. Thanks again for your stories and for the thrill of the chase Mr. Fenn. Many things are left behind not by choice. For me, its chasing the treasure I must now leave behind. I’m reminded of “Code of the West” where a Montana cowgirl’s word is good as gold to her family. I take away many new treasures which I’m most grateful for. Grace is an unexpected gift… Thank you Forrest.

    Side note: for all traveling in Montana. We have two seasons here, winter and road repair;-)

      • BW – it’s surprisingly easy to leave behind chasing gold and endless clue solving. Rather freeing!!
        The difficulty is in leaving friends 🙂

  7. I just added a pic to the Ladies Sewing Kit post. Forrest sent more than one pic when he sent the story but I completely missed one photo. So I just added the wonderful needle in mud ball pic. Sorry for the mistake…

      • I closed my eyes thinking of when I worked in a nursery at 15 in southern NM making people’s yards looking like they once did. Thanks for the story Forrest.

    • Dal I have a question about that second photo, was it a error that you caught or did Forrest remind you through email. The only reason I ask cause that would make the significance of the photo as it would help with my solution. Thx Dal

    • Very very interesting dal. So Mr. Fenn contacts you to inform you of the significance of the mud-ball “hidey-spot”.

      If Mr. Fenn feels the mud-ball picture is of significance, then I have some sad news for everyone….If Mr. Fenn has chosen this method to “hide” the TC, then it is game over in my view and we will collectively never find “it” and I do not care how close you are to “it”. I guess that is why he says to consult a child…they like to play in the mud!

      For what its worth…as I have now given up totally at this pointt…I think the key line in this post is the following…

      “for a constant throaty wind that whispered through the cedar breaks and ponderosas.”

      If the mud-ball hidey technique is for real…then you best bring a metal detector. Mr. Fenn says all you need is the poem…

      • i think any serious treasure searcher is bringing a metal detector on their search

        and they are going to specific coordinates, and sweep the area

        the treasure isnt going to be found by walking around general areas

        im not saying a detector for sure is how it can be found. i used to think so, but after f said, anyone getting within 12 feet is not likely not to find it. im not sure

        however it would be a mistake, imo, not to bring a detector when a million dollar treasure is in play. also a mistake, imo, not to know exactly where you are going beforehand

  8. Forrest, I could read your stories all day! You have a talent for keeping my/our interest with every word. Thank you!

  9. The Point to this Thread is that finding the chest is like discovering a needle in a mud ball, Sew don’t bother trying and Leave that up to me 😉

      • Thanks Dal:)

        Was told so, I’m not so sure. Pottery of the Southwest isn’t my strong suit. Know different colors imply different areas and time frames.

        A collector I meant thought some of the beads Forrest had in that bracelet in the chest came out of Nevada Arizona Utah others in New Mexico.

        Would imagine that shows a trade network?

        Way I feel about those pottery pieces:)

      • When Einstein was trying to test gravity equivalence principle his theory on two object falling at the same time( Newtons Law Of Gravity ) he failed several times until he vacuum the air out of the equation. In this case it’s more of what is in the equation that helps us. The ball of mud but in my solution is more of something packed in mud. My solution only makes sense to me and I think I have more fun fighting myself and fundamental ideas that would elevate me to pack up and take a quest to the mid west. I find it fascinating that Forrest wants that picture to be seen, not because he’s throwing it in our face but more to highlight is story but on a searchers quest it might have more significance of being a clue or hint. All Forrest stories are fascinating but there might IMO subtle hints for us and us to figure out. So my question of certain items might help me but also might help my fellow searchers. Until I asked I would have thought it was a Random photo but now I know that it is key to the story and possibly the Chase

        • When is a ball of mud not a ball of mud?

          Your adding to the poem, trying to hedge your bet.

          Seen hundreds of these false reads in puzzles not only with this hunt in other hunts as well.

          Numbers create facts, facts create truth.

          Try that one instead:)


          • The glass don’t always have to half empty all the time Rick! You had a spark about the chase at one time so what happen sense then?

          • Not to pick on you pack it off to the Mid West?

            Those states are:

            Illinois Indiana Iowa Kansas

            Michigan Minnesota Missouri

            Nebraska North Dakota

            Ohio South Dakota Wisconsin

            If you don’t give a dam what your really saying or even correcting yourself and holding yourself accountable how the hell are you even going to come close to finding this treasure?

            About 90% of people are like this don’t be like them.

            Not only with a treasure life itself. Seen Forrest hold himself to a very high standard. Most successful people do.

            Like you Will nothing personal.


          • I don’t take it personal. I live on the east coast so anything west of Florida is mid west to me. I have to be serious 70 hours a week so the minute I can be someone else that jumps on a plane and take a crafty adventure so sure sign me up. Don’t worry I like you too Rick and I was just curious!

          • Have to face the music myself Will:)

            Was never out in the field in the state I know the treasure is in.

            Whoever came within 500 feet was out in the field in that state.

            Therefore everything I have is back to 0.


  10. Well, if the mud-pie is a serious helpful hint, then Mr. Fenn must want this thing solved or why provide this critical piece of final hidey spot information. Of late…look for a mud-pie “in” some wood with “rare bark” and a big listening ear for whispers that appear to shout as if originating if from the throat. So, now you all can go return to your perfect poem solution locations to see if you may have missed something. I mean c’mon, some “folks” have the first two clues correct and other have passed within 500ft…maybe it was you!

    To me…it all means nothing…but I will keep my eye out for mud-pies and red (i.e. cedar like…juniper like…ponderosa like) bark.

  11. Interesting takes on this being a clue.
    However I am more interested in the needle. What is it made of? How was it made?
    Being familiar with ancient paper making techniques, this intrigues me. Would love to know more about it.

    Thanks Forrest

    • Hi Chad,
      I live in AZ. Lots of these plants here. Several in my yard.
      The tip of the spear leaf is sharp and pointy. If you grab the point and start to peel it back, the “thread” comes with it. Voila, you have your needle and thread.
      Best wishes on your chase. 🙂

      • Hello Chad and Specialklr, I have never made a needle and thread from Yucca, but I have made many bow-drill fires from Yucca. I learned from a scout leader years ago who spent many years in the Southern Utah desert teaching survival. Dried Yucca stalks make excellent spindles for making a blazing fire…well…after you blow the spark into a kindling nest. Thanks for sharing that, Forrest! 🙂

        • Guys, do a quick search on agave and yucca. They are two different desert plants. The heart of the yucca plant provides the material for basket weaving. Some of those baskets were so ornate and so tight that they would hold water. The stalk has made many a cane or walking stick. It is the agave that gives us the needle and thread. One type of agave is also called the century plant. The base grows for years and finally a stalk comes up in the center. It has got to be one of the fastest growing things. You can almost watch it grow. It’s like, inches per day. It lasts a short while, falls over and the whole plant dies.

  12. For me the clues that Forrest is dropping here are not in the story. They are in the introduction. He uses the same introduction on each of these vignettes:

    “Many of the objects in my collection are significant in a very small depiction of world history. Most are more interesting than they are important. Nevertheless, it is necessary for me to remember that each piece represents who we once were in a time that used to be, and that I will never be anything more than its temporary custodian.”

    The chest and its contents are objects from his collection. There is a theme here that he is repeating. The unity and connection between the past, present, and future. It is the same theme that runs through the book, especially in MWFM and the epilogue. The quote he uses from TS Eliot is from Eliot’s “Little Gidding”. I suggest reading it or an analysis of it. The theme is found there.

    It seems to me that it is logical that this is the same theme in Fenn’s poem and it relates to the hiding place of the chest.

    What say you?

  13. I should add that each individual’s place and contributions in that continuum of past present and future is central to the theme.

  14. If my memory serves, Patriarch of the Remuda was the next post to follow this sewing kit. I was relieved to see Tohopka smiling. 🙂
    I was still a newbie then…

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