I knit a lot in public, often at distracting concerts, and needed to simplify my process. When preparing for a long Fair Isle/stranded project, I start with pattern. I usually have charted in some software or graph paper, but after I settle on the chart, I move to excel. I make the color card and pattern bundle.
In excel, I chart by using very visible colors, not necessarily matching the yarns I will use. Then I break the chart down by inserting a blank row between each chart line. Glue these babies up to pre-cut cardstock, insert a banker's ring and off I go. I just flip to change the row. (Spinners will recognize yet another use of those wonderful black rubber bands.)
This is what excel looks like:
Notice that I add the color name and the count? The count has two forms, short and full. Short gets repeated across the row, counting right to left, just as you knit. Full give me the lead-in for a particular row. See row #25 on the second chart.
While I am not thrilled by the color choice on the top of the tam, this sequence doesn't come up in the sweater. The side of the tam has the XO pattern and is a fine gauge swatch. Of course, many of you recognize Mara.
Meanwhile, fiberguy has been very busy cutting away on a semi-secret quilt project. Huge amount of cutting, but he is very organized and chugging along. A nice block in the background is partially finished.