Neckerchiefs (a.k.a. Neckers, Neckies etc.)

How to wear a necker

Fold or roll the long edge over so that the necker is the correct size to lie smoothly at the back with long ends left hanging down the front or tied in a friendship (square) knot. You will find it easier to roll if you have someone to help : get them to hold the two points of the long side apart and tell them to keep the edge taut. You then grip the point of the necker in your teeth and keep the whole necker taut. Reach over the necker and grasp the long edge and roll it tightly towards you until there is about 8" or thereabouts of the necker left unrolled (you may need to adjust this by trial and error.) Keep a firm hold of the edge you have rolled and ask you helper to let go of the ends they have been holding. Shake the necker sharply and it should form two neat rolled ands on either side of the central point. Place it around the neck and insert the ends through the woggle and slide it up to the point where the necker sits comfortably. If you want to tie a friendship knot see this page.

Why use a woggle?

The advantages of a woggle are that in hot weather and when hiking, the necker can be loosened around the throat, while in a cold wind or bad weather it can be fastened up closer for warmth.
When necessary to use the necker in emergencies (see below), the woggle can be quickly slid down and the necker can be whipped off over the head. When a woggle is not used a knot must be tied, and as it is unlikely to be tied twice alike nor at the same position, the necker collects creases, giving an untidy appearance.

Examples of some home-made woggles can be seen on the woggles page.

Some uses for a necker

Practically all of the different uses of a necker are because it is triangular.

  1. The main, original use of a necker is so that different units/troops can be distinguished. This is particularly useful on camps, trips etc., and on trips overseas it is usual to wear the red, white and blue International Necker.
  2. Signal flag : tied to a stick and waved in the air, a brightly-coloured necker can be seen much more easily than just waving arms. Two neckers can be used to send semaphore messages.
  3. Blindfold for games - fold the necker in half lengthways (point to long edge) and then in half again and it will be long enough to tie round the head and also opaque enough to prevent anyone seeing through it.
  4. Listed in old Scouting books is the "blindfold for a horse" - if you need to lead a horse out of (or into) somewhere it doesn't want to go, you will find it much easier if you blindfold it with your necker first!
  5. Telling teams apart in games : if the players are all in the same unit and therefore wearing the same colour neckers, tie them in different ways : e.g. around the forehead; cowboy fashion, (with the broad part in front of the neck); Scout fashion, (broad part at the back); as a shoulder sash, (right or left shoulder) and on the right or left arm between the biceps and shoulder.
  6. Tying anything to anything - roll or fold the necker along the longest edge to make a strong length of fabric.
  7. Folded the same way as (6) above, a necker makes a temporary belt (useful if your trousers are about to fall down.......)
  8. Sun hat or anti-mosquito hood : tie a knot in the broad point and tie the long ends either under the chin or behind the head at the back of the neck.
  9. Rescue lifeline : extend your reach for a casualty in water using a necker; if necessary, tie neckers together point to point to make a longer lifeline.
  10. Filter for muddy or oily water - boil it (the water!) after filtering it through a necker.
  11. Emergency rope ladder : the broad parts of the neckers are looped together and tied with a square knot so that each one is a complete circle, making a chain (rather like a Christmas paper chain, only much stronger!)
  12. First Aid - all the standard uses for a triangular bandage e.g. sling, head bandage (long edge to the forehead, letting the point fall to the back of the head and using the ends crossed in the back and tied in the front) foot/hand bandages, flat bandages (folded necker) and for tying and padding splints, etc.
  13. Dust/insect cover for open food and/or drink.
  14. A bag for carrying things (e.g. potatoes, apples, stuff collected in a scavenger hunt....) : tie the three corners together and carry by the knot.
  15. A folded necker can be used as padding for hand or shoulder when carrying heavy loads.


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