Picture of How to wrap a Keffiyeh
Guide to wrapping a traditional Keffiyeh around your head as demonstrated by the legendary Tim Anderson.
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Step 1: Fold it in half

Picture of Fold it in half
Fold the keffiyeh in half diagonally so you get a big triangle, then put it over your head like Tim.

Step 2: Pinch, wrap and tuck

Picture of Pinch, wrap and tuck
Pinch the fabric over your ear and wrap that side in front of your face then around your head and tuck it into itself.

Step 3: The other side

Picture of The other side
Same thing as before, but instead of going in front of your face go under your chin

Step 4: Enjoy!

Picture of Enjoy!
The brilliant thing about the head wrap is the convertible nature of the face section.
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zuchinno3 years ago
Wow. This screams cultural appropriation.
Wzrd1 zuchinno3 years ago
Wow! ONE item of clothing is cultural appropriation!
Erm, try adopting some of the CULTURE of those who wear it.
Be mindful and guarding of family.
Be honorable.
Be honest.
Give a decent deal, considering the purchaser's status/money, in short, a hard won deal in negotiations over tea.
Have tea first with one you wish to negotiate with, to better know who you are negotiating with and perhaps, develop a friendship.
Just a FEW of the values from that culture, one can and indeed, some have, written honest books about that culture.
But, they DO respect age, as age shows one has gained experience. If the "experienced" is a fool, they'll learn and move on.
Hmmm...Cultural Appropriation and symbolism.... with the Confederate Flag.

The "kufiyahs" (or insert your spelling of choice) is a headdress that has been worn by people in the Arab Peninsula for centuries. However, the Keffiyeh and this pattern in particular became symbolic of Palestinian resistance in the 50's/60's, embraced by Yasser Arafat and, through him, the PLO/PLA and the general violent struggle between Israel and the parts of the Palestinian people, both occupied Egyptian and occupied Jordanians alike. Due to this embrace, the item of clothing carries certain political baggage due to bombing and hijacking campaigns carried out by the PLO/PLA from the 60's through today.

The Confederate Battle Flag, as embraced by most southerners, is more of a symbol of pride in being a southerner and not about racism. This flag carries with it political baggage from the slavery component of the US Civil War.

By embracing THIS PARTICULAR PATTERN of keffiyeh, many would believe that you embrace the aspects of a culture of hijacking planes, bombing buses, and launching rockets into cities with little care for the target.

By embracing the CONFEDERATE BATTLE FLAG, many would believe that you embrace segregation, racism, lynch mobs.

Either may be true. Either may NOT be true.

Personal Example:

I know many southerners, both white AND black, who embrace the confederate flag as a symbol of southern pride and eschew the racist failures of the past.

I also know many southerners, both white AND black, who view it as a backwards symbol of an racist past, some of whom (including personal family) suffered due to their stances against segregation in the South.

Further personal example:

One of my good friends identifies himself as a Palestinian, much as I identify myself as an American. He believes in a peaceful resolution to the "Occupied Territories" situation in Israel.

In 2003, I lost a friend due to a Hamas bombing of Mike's Place in Tel Aviv.

Symbols have meaning, regardless of what one may wish.

To ignore the baggage associated with the symbolism in a specific keffiyeh pattern or a 150 year old flag is willful ignorance.
I'm familiar with the PLO symbolism, as well as their terrorist activities. However, the use of that color keffiyeh is SO 1970's.

That said, my two colors of keffiyeh were a khaki and black or white with red embroidery.
The embroidery provides friction to hold the cloth in place when wearing it to cover one's nose and mouth against that damnable dust.
I've met some who had the black embroidery in the region, but they were not Palestinians and were rather neutral regarding the occupied territories, it was a color of choice that their family wore by tradition.
So, it's actually a bit more complicated than PLO sympathies or not.

I tend to judge others not by their apparel, but by their behavior, words and deeds.
Just as I don't judge someone who flies a confederate flag, I judge them by their behavior, words and deeds.
So are white hoods and robes...the actual "headdress" itself isn't a problem for some people. It's the choice of colors and pattern by NumberRandom for use in the instructable that could cause misinterpretation.

Although your choice of colors differ (I personally use a solid khaki one), the one pictured above could cause those sensitive to the issue some concern.

The political BS that has started to surround this instructable could have been avoided with a tad bit of reading or, if the choice was intentional, with a little more tact. We may never know, unless NumberRandom decides to weigh in on the issue.

All symbols of cultures are never cut and dry, but those who embrace those symbols should be conscious of their actions, regardless of intentions.

Wherever your politics lay on the issue of solidarity with either the Israelis or the Palestinians or the only gay Eskimo in my tribe (in the style of Rick Ocasek), politics as a whole should be (IMHO) resolutely left out of instructables.

Most people in the US, and the EU for that matter, couldn't get close to understanding the Middle East if you beat them with a Clue-bat.

Instructables should be about the free exchange of information and ideas on "how to make things." Often, the quickest way to start a fight, flame or otherwise, is talking politics and religion.

I guess my ultimate point that I've tried to illustrate is, in regards to the choice of pattern and color of the keffiyeh/shmagh in this instructable, the direct or tangential political connotations thereof, we should all collectively put a cork in it.

To quote Joshua, "the only winning move is not to play."
Thank you Mr. Grumpus. This is my first time coming to the site. I am a Libertarian. I totally believe in free speech, even when it is ignorant. I strongly resist efforts to impinge on people's freedom to speak and write what they want to, EXCEPT in a privately held place. In my mind, freedom belongs to all individuals and under the law, corporations are individuals. They have the right to make the rules for conduct in their spaces. A church may forbid anti-Christian outbursts, a chain like Starbucks can prohibit people lawfully carrying firearms from going into their shops, and can have rules of conduct that require us to "be nice" because "[w]e have a be nice comment policy. Please be positive and constructive." I am a teacher. In a site devoted to instruction, constructiveness is defined as providing instruction. Those rules of conduct are indicative of a society that promotes civility. If our society was only more civil, we might might actually get more done because we'd listen to each other instead of barking like yappy little dogs.
It can be. It can also be a way of showing solidarity with the Palestinian people.

I got the name of the UK vendor of these, the last Palestinians who make kufiyahs, from their e-mail address, which you can read above. They perceive my financial contribution as being positive to a business which, as every one in West Bank Palestine, tries with difficulty to thrive under Israeli bureaucracy.

I'm not Palestinian; nor is my wife. She's from a South American Indian Nation considered 'an endangered tribe' (Her comment - am I an animal? I think I can preserve myself. Pass me the rifle) . If my wife shows solidarity by wearing a Kufiya, and a Palestinian shows solidarity by visiting her tribal land, that's not cultural appropriation.

It can also be showing solidarity with the Israeli people. Jews have worn keffiyot for a long, long time. There's a company called "The Kef" that makes ones with Mogen David and IDF designs
agkaye1 year ago
Thanks for the instructions. The keffiyeh is an extremely practical garment. I am going hunting tomorrow and it is supposed to be unseasonably warm. I have a cold weather hunting balaclava, but it will be a bit too warm to wear. I have a bright orange and black keffiyeh to go with my blaze orange and black hunting camouflage. The first time I used the keffiyeh was at an outdoor garage sale where I was manning a booth in the sun for three+ hours. It kept my very caucasian skin from getting very burnt. Its gauzy structure kept it from getting to be too warm.
For those who are trying to make this political because of its Semitic origins, please don't go there. I am a Jew, an American patriot, and a Zionist. As much as the world tends to forget, Arabs and Jews have a common parentage and a common region. The keffiyeh is not a religious garment, it is a garment of the desert nomad. At one time, most of us Semitic folks were nomads in desert areas. I was in the US Army and was stationed in the desert for three years. I wish I knew how to wear one of these back then. We wore gauze cravats like keffiyahs but they didn't stay in place as well and were not so easily converted back and forth to face covers. My wearing of a keffiyeh does not make me any more of a Palestinian sympathizer than my wearing of an ushanka (the Russian ear-flap hat) makes me a fan of Vladimir Putin. As a person of Ukrainian heritage, I despise Putin because he embodies the egotistical oligarchical leader who seems to think his is better and smarter than everyone else. That doesn't make me want to trade in my ushanka for a ski cap or ear muffs.

When I was a soldier, the Army implemented the PASGT, styled after the German Bundeswehr's Gefechtshelm (helmet with ear covering that is favored by bikers). That didn't me a Nazi. We wore ponchos too. They have their origins in South and Central America.

The bottom line is this, in America, we have a creole culture. We see it in our arts, cuisine, language, and clothing. Our nation has been fortunate enough to be able to borrow from the hundreds (if not thousands) of cultures of our citizens. Let's not be so ignorant and naive to think that we Americans should avoid cultural garb because it has its origins in cultures some of us might not agree with.
oud251 year ago
very nice and simple be good for places like out here all we have is wind
I agree with Mr. Grumpus:

"Wherever your politics lay... politics as a whole should be (IMHO) resolutely left out of Instructables."

To keep a thriving community of friends going, let this be about making things. Leave the politics and religion for more appropriate forums. I started to launch into a diatribe of my own until I read Mr. Grumpus' calmer and more reasoned comments.

Re: posting things which may generate controversy, I agree with Mr. Grumpus and Joshua:

"the only winning move is not to play."
neffk2 years ago
Very interesting and practical. Thanks for posting.
jbroadbeck2 years ago
Nice post. You sure got some interesting comments on this one! It always amazes me how worked up people get over the significance of keffiyehs. They are simply great versatile scarves, and I believe they should be enjoyed by everyone.
carrotguy3 years ago
Correction: Israel is +972, Jordan is +962. Sorry!
carrotguy3 years ago
The company that still handlooms kufiyahs in Palestine is:
Hirbawi Textile Factory
0599 439253/297028/557735

I'm not sure what the international dialling code is: Israel is +962, Jordan is +972, and Jordanian mobiles work in most of the Occupied West Bank. Try both and see what happens. They speak English.

They have a distributor in the UK, she has asked me not to give details in an open forum because as soon as you mention the word 'Palestine' you get hassle. I can ask her to contact you by phone (in the UK) or e-mail; however, if you're not in the UK, contact the factory direct and they will tell you if there is a local vendor. This will save you customs hassles.

I ordered yesterday afternoon, my kufiyahs arrived this morning.

I order a red and white, and a black and white (well actually two of each) . They cost £ 7.50 each, making a total of £ 35.70 including UK 1st class delivery.

They are a bit bigger than the 42" someone mentioned, 127 cm square. Fine for a man of average height, a bit big for a petite woman.

If you want to show soldarity with the people, then wear something traditional and expect to be called a 'raghead' - or worse. However, they also do many other colours and styles, which may be less controversial. Some would go nicely with a woman's evening dress.

The black and white has relatively little embroidery and is therefore quite light, and being mostly white keeps the sun off but isn't going to be warm in winter.

The red and white is heavily embroidered and thus weighs much more. More suitable for winter.

My politics are pretty left-wing. I'd wear a traditional kufiyah to a rally or a meeting, but for everyday wear in the UK, it's a very in-your-face political statement. As much so, maybe more so than the black hat and ringlets of an Orthodox Jew.

The instructions given below are good, but don't work so well if you have long hair (which few Palestinians do) - the best advice is to meet a Palestinian and ask them to show you. You have to arrange it slightly differently.

Also, there aren't many sandstorms in the UK, and covering up your face with anything, especially when visiting a bank, arouses susicions. Better to wear it slightly differently, so that the whole of your face is visible.

Sorry for such a long, first, post!

ilpug3 years ago
What are the rough dimensions of a keffiyeh?
Wzrd1 ilpug3 years ago
Real simple GUIDE, as we ALL are of different measurements.
Fold it as described in the first image. Put it around your neck at its mid length.
If it reaches your crotch, it's right. If it's short, it's no good. If it's a bit longer, OK. If it's a LOT longer, it's no good, too much excess.
Then, fold and wrap according to instructions.
ilpug Wzrd13 years ago
Sounds good!
Last time I had to take a flight my wife wouldn't leave the house until I changed out of my "Muslim Academy" shirt, I wonder how she'd like this. BTW Tim you do look very stylish in it.
my ex-wife was that way about ALL MUSLIM type people & things....I put up with it for 3 years, then finally decided I had enough & divorced her. At the final court hearing, I showed up in full Muslim atire....LOL
to say she was not happy is an understatement. :)
My wife isn't anti muslim, she just didn't want my sense of humor making us miss our flight while I antagonized the TSA.
I refuse to fly after, arriving from a secure Air Base, was given a scrotum squeeze by a TSSA agent. Not to mention an enhanced screening. Not to mention that the folks at the TSSA have a far lower security clearance than I did at the time.
As far as I'm concerned, let air travel shrivel and die until the airlines demand from their masters a release of such idiocy.
Besides, I don't relish the notion of skin cancer, which their scanners can easily give, for the x-ray backscatter units. AS proved by labs repeatedly.
SIRJAMES093 years ago
because I have never had one before, how do I tell a well made one from a cheaply made one?

I wish to wear one that is black & white & represents the barbed wire fencing I have heard Palestinians talk about....but I have no idea on how to tell a well made one from a cheaply made one. :(

What do I look for?
It's hard to find a 'bad' one the best part about them is that they are fairly 'cheap' and easy to make and thus cheap to buy. Of course the should be the proper size of about 42 inches

The only way I could see it being cheap in quality is if you bought one ,that was meant to be worn as an accessory, from Target or the like and not made to handle potential abuse.

Rothco makes some great ones that I have a ton of and have yet to be dissatisfied or receive a damaged or defective one.

I use mine for Airsoft and practical use to keep sand, sawdust, and dirt out of my face. You can find them at most airsoft/paintball milsim stores or Amazon. My advice though is to never pay over $12 dollars for one.
Easier measurement, fold it in half, across corners. Put it around your neck at mid fold.
If it is close to your crotch, it's the right size, as it MUST be wrapped around your head and body proportions are rather a bit of a constant.
TY Sir! :-)

Now I know where to buy from!! :-D

I disagree and know it to be very common and easy to come across cheaply produced crap.

A proper keffiyeh is often handmade, though not always. It is embroidered by hand or at least produced with good quality cloth that is easily and tangibly tougher, more durable and easy to tug at/stretch around you/pull tight without slightest fear 'my new fashion accessory will be ruined'. Proper keffiyehs are made for the strong gusts of sand in the desert that would otherwise be eroding and wearing your face.

You can also look for arabic writing on them as an indication, or simply ask where they are from. There are good quality ones produced in Oman or other placed, but if you are actually buying it for a political reason you may want to buy direct from Palestinian war widows/orphanages that weave and embroider them to sell.

There are so many cheap knockoff keffiyehs flooding the market from China now that there is only one original keffiyeh factory left in the whole of Palestine in Hebron, West Bank, called the Herbawi factory, owned by Herbawi family.
I would strongly suggest searching google to buy from them or for palestinian embroidery if you want the real article. The traditional design is the one above actually, the inner pattern is supposed to represent a chainlink fence and struggle against occupation and the outer pattern are the waves of the River Jordan. Or so I've been told. That design is a palestinian solidarity symbol... a lot of people jumping on the trend just didn't know or even care, sad and very, very ignorant really.

So, just avoid all clothing chains/market stalls who look like anyone jumping on the bandwagon trying to make a quick buck out of something that actually has more meaning and cultural significance than 'latest trend, hot new look!'
These sellers are definitely the kind to have had it made cheaply mass produced for them from China and do not care about anything (least of all political context, urban outfitters actually called theirs anti-war scarfs, ignorant as hell!) but exploiting an opportunity to undercut genuine producers and sell customers crap for a fat profit margin. You can say the same of suits, materials, stitching and their tailors - a Chinese suit will never compare (unless it's a good tailor who's Chinese!)
Wzrd1 rreason3 years ago
I have no clue about cheap ones, if they're embroidered, they're good. If they're dyed, pass, as they won't hold position, as that is WHY they are embroidered!
Frankly, I adopted wearing it for two reasons:
1: Keep that damned dust out of my lungs, it is WORSE than that bad, during a sandstorm, screw your skin, it grows back. Clogged lungs are the makers of dead people.
2: Keep that dust out of my hair, as it is a natural form of concrete and mixed with sweat, is as pleasant as having concrete poured on your head and let to set. Short version, real unpleasant and irritating.

I tried the hat and dust mask thing (OK, a helmet), no go, that dust is finer than portland cement dust and has the same characteristics, though less refined in cement qualities (don't try building a house out of it).
But, 6 seconds of reviewing on Google shows me hundreds of links that show embroidered (machine OR human) units.

As for political statements, screw politics, politicians change views more often than I change underwear, which is at least daily.
Thank you! I am so tired of the 'fashion keffiyeh."
dla8883 years ago
Cool! I like it!
Nuyorican8 years ago
(removed by author or community request)
numberandom (author)  Nuyorican8 years ago
Besides being awesome, it can keep your face warm when its cold or even keep the sun off you when its really hot! Everyone should know how to wear one!
Beside being awesome, a good sun protection, a nice cold protection, a good dust-mask a Keffiyeh is more than only a "Arab dust mask". The Keffiyeh is a political statement for some people (like me), It's a symbol of solidarity with the Palestinian people, though not an islamic symbol. I think you should know this before wearing a Keffiyeh. I live in Canada, an it's cold here in winter. I use my Keffiyeh as a scarf, it's light and I don't feel strangled by it. It's a good alternative to disposable dust-masks because it doesn't create fog in safety goggles. Hey it's also pretty cool!
It very well could be an Islamic symbol.
the black & white ones like he is showing in the pics, is used by the Palestinians to show solidarity against Israel
Its a shame its also so trendy. I see so many people wearing them now that I feel that people may not realise I'm making a statement of solidarity and think I'm just an ignorant consumerist who saw a nice "jihad scarf thing" and wanted to wear it.
These things are AMAZING in Canadian winter. I have a great wool scarf that I don't wear anymore because these work so much better. They keep warm air near your face and neck, keep snow and rain off your face and neck, and aren't as stuffy or restrictive as regular scarves. But I resent it every time I wear it. Stupid scene kids.
Are you kidding? The british government has been wearing keffiyehs since WW1! US soldiers have worn them during the gulf war, and even now in iraq and afghanistan. they have practical application, genius.
well get ur facts straight... the kuffieyye is 100% arab it started as a sign to distinguish asrabs from foreigners occupying the arab lands... and guess what the kuffieyye is an arab and especially a palastinian tradition... i breaks my heart when i see people taking credit over something a country has been using for years as a symbol and for its benefits. and what hurts more than that is when i see people wearing the kuffieyye who are unaware of its value as a fashion trend!!
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