Agave-spine needle and thread

My pal Jon has a beautiful Agave americana in the backyard of the house he just bought. He removes the wicked spines that grow at the tips of the leaves for safety’s sake, and last time I was there he extracted this one. He showed me how to break off the spine at its base, then pull straight out parallel to the leaf to extract a long braid of fibrous material attached to the spine.

This one has about four feet of fiber, still strongly attached to the needle. I let it dry out lengthwise, first, (it has a tendency to curl) then recently taped it around a can, misted it with water, and let it dry again to set the coil you see here. It’s easy to imagine how they might be used for sewing.

Here’s what they look like in situ: