Thank you for all the oh-so-helpful comments on the last post. As ever, there is much knitting wisdom to be found from kindly folk online. Last night I got home and spent an hour or so on the sofa, scribbling in my notebook and working out some numbers, and there is a New Plan for the Little Brother sweater.
The New Plan involves discarding the Old Plan, so I have frogged the earlier attempt. But first I used it to check and doublecheck my gauge. I then used this to work out the stitch count for a 43″ cardigan, with button bands included. I then painstakingly worked out how to make the hem ribbing flow seamlessly into the very basic cables that will go up the back (I’m sure this is not actually that difficult, but it took me ages and I’m quite proud I managed it).
So, I have cast on anew, and am a few rows into the hem. I’m knitting the first and last 2 inches as the button band, and have opted for linen stitch, since it looks quite masculine and unfussy and stays fairly flat.
I’m still deciding on whether to do a cable on the front. I may stick with the earlier plan and knit the fronts plain, with a cabled pocket on each side – I’m thinking this might look more ‘manly’ somehow. Once I finish the body and knit some sleeves (without cables), I’ll join it altogether and do raglan decreases up the yoke, before knitting and seaming the buttonband into the neckband.
Whether or not this will work, and whether or not I’ll finish it anywhere near his birthday, remains a mystery for the time being. But overall I’m happier with this new version, so fingers crossed!