I have been working on fair isle for a few weeks now along with the other projects I have in my WIP area. I have many patterns that I have found on Ravelry and other areas on the net but I really wanted to make my own patterns. Now my problem with some of the patterns is that I can't see them well enough. So to fix this problem I put them in Excel. Yes it takes a while to do it but is well worth it in the long run. Also by having it in Excel I can mark off the rows I have already worked to make it easier to read.
So this is how I do it.
First print out your pattern, then open up Excel, count your pattern at the widest part. Count out the boxes you need. For me the fingerless mitts I am working on had a front and back so needed to count both sides together and add one for the center where you turned the mitt over. Start at the bottom like you would if you were knitting start to copy the pattern to Excel. I would use the color that the pattern was used, such as if was a black and white pattern I would use black. Hold the control key down and you can add more than one stitch at a time. Then go to the top with the little bucket and find the color you need and click. You should have all the little boxes that you clicked filled in. Continue with the rest of your pattern. When you are finished go back and click center and bold then go through all the areas you have colored in with an X this helps when you use yellow to highlight what you have knitted so that you can still see the design work.
This will work for any chart you would like to make yourself as well. I took one of the mitten patterns that I had done and copied it to another page and deleted everything inside so that it was a copy, a blank canvas and started over. Will have to show you at a later date how it turns out.
The thing to remember is that with fair isle you are only using 2 colors at a time. Always hold your yarn colors in the same hands, yes you will have to use both hands. You get used to it and it really isn't hard since you are usually doing fair isle in the round you are always knitting, no purling to do thankfully.
Give it a try you might like it. It is always good to try something and learn something you are afraid of or don't think you can do. With practice you will be surprised at what you can accomplish.
Here is a good video from Jimmy Beans Wool that will teach you to capture your floats. It is a good thing to learn and practice, you can also use this to weave your yarn ends in as you go instead of using a needle. That is what I have been doing.
Well happy knitting!