About Fair Isle Design
Fair Isle Design LLC was founded in February, 2010 by Loretta Banta. The company has developed an innovative internet-based design program, YOFIK™ (Patent pending) (Your Own Fair Isle Knitting), for the thousands of people who enjoy Fair Isle knitting. YOFIK™ will be available by subscription at www.FairIsleDesign.com.
Fair Isle knitting is a form of stranded knitting developed in the islands north of Scotland. Up to two colors are used per row, generally with one bobbin held in each hand. The resulting knitted product is much warmer than articles made using single strand knitting and the color combinations yield extraordinarily beautiful work. The method also is remarkably fast compared to other multicolor knitting methods since the knitter has both colors “in hand” at all times.
Designing a Fair Isle knitting project has been, up to now, a tedious process at best. Creating patterns by filling in grids on graph paper with colored pencils or watercolors has been the norm. Obviously, that process does not allow for easy experimentation and revision. One recent innovation is the use of MS Excel with reduced-size cells to simulate graph paper. While this method allows for editing and correction, each pattern has to be laboriously constructed one cell at a time. Both the graph paper and Excel methods also require row-by-row checking to prevent inadvertent third (or fourth) colors in a single row.
YOFIK™ brings the ease of computer editing to Fair Isle pattern design. Users simply determine the size and shape of a Block and then use drag and drop to fill in the Patterns. YOFIK™ automatically repeats each Pattern all the way across the block, minimizing time and errors.
Blocks can be rectangles, triangles, or trapezoids and these shapes can be used singly or in combination to produce any shape of knit garment, including sweaters, scarves, hats, and mittens.
Patterns can be rearranged, deleted, and replaced until the desired look is achieved. There are more than one thousand patterns available on the site but users can also design their own or modify one of the existing ones.
After it is designed, users can experiment with coloring the Block. At this point the block pattern is represented by shaded cells surrounded by white “background” cells. Row by row, the user can explore options and assign one color to the shaded cells and another to the background cells. The program automatically prevents the accidental introduction of a third or fourth color on a line.
The resulting colored Block, saved as a PDF file, can be printed along with a legend listing all the colors used and their proportions. The cell (stitch) size in the display can be adjusted by the user for ease in reading.
YOFIK™ is unique in today’s craft market—nothing even comes close. It is very reasonably priced at $1 per month or $10 for twelve months for unlimited access to the design program and the YOFIK Library of Blocks and Patterns. A limited time no obligation free trial is available.
Company Founder, Loretta Banta
Loretta Banta gained an innovative pioneering spirit from her parents’ example. Loretta’s mother taught her to sew, knit, crochet, tat, and embroider, and her father’s response to an idea is generally, “Give it a bloody try, Yank!” Heeding this advice, she taught herself to spin and embroider with silk ribbon before adding Fair Isle knitting to her repertoire.
While with the US Forest Service as a Civil Engineer, Loretta combined field work with computer innovation. She grew to appreciate the importance that practical solutions play in optimizing a process. As she explains, “Computers are great at the irritating, repetitious work that wears people out and causes mistakes; eliminating the ‘dog work’ lets you concentrate on the real work.” Loretta tapped that philosophy and her computer talent to develop the YOFIK™ software to help others create beautiful Fair Isle designs without the drudgery that was previously involved.
Loretta resides in Denver Colorado in the home her parents built and which she helped expand as a youngster.