Some projects roll off the hook or needle. The swatch is true, the wool buttery, the colours just so. This kind of project is rare, and to date I think I've only had two: the Floss scarf and the Flax sweater.
Most projects seem to have to involve at least a few hiccups. Perhaps the colours don't quite sing in the way you expected, or maybe you dropped a stitch somewhere and have to go back a bit. You might have to spend a few evenings pouring over blogs and YouTube tutorials, having been a little too optimistic about your own abilities. This is okay. I don't mind hiccups - you always learn something new.
Sometimes, though, often when you least expect it, you get an absolute b****** of a project. Not so much a WIP (work in progress) as a FIP (fling-it project). Fling it across the bloody room.
See this lovely, innocent-looking little cardie? It's my FIP. Oh my, am I glad Pinterest doesn't do audio, because the Bleeps and @*!Xs that are woven into those tiny fairisle stitches...
The pattern is from an Editions Marie Claire pattern book I've had for years. It has a bottom-up, seamed raglan construction, and is meant to be knit in 3mm needles. I knit quite tightly, so I went up to 3.5mm to get the right gauge. I picked the smallest size: 0-3 months. Although now that it's finished and finally on the Squidgy One I do think it's rather lovely, but unusually for me, I didn't enjoy making it one bit. Sheer stubbornness to avoid wasting the beautiful yarn (more details below), as well as a looming "oh look mum, I'm about to bust out of this before you've even finished it" situation are the only reasons I didn't abandon it halfway through.
The thing about baby knits is that they are meant to be quick, satisfying makes but despite its diminutive size this was anything but. I started it before we even knew whether the wriggly baby in my belly would be a girl or a boy, and didn't finish until our Bug had already been with us for good month. This was mostly my own fault, owing to a series of spectacular misjudgments.
No matter how small the cardie, fine 2-ply is never going to knit up fast.
No matter how small the cardie, trying your hand at fairisle for the second time in your life is never going to be fast.
No matter how small the cardie, itty bitty pieces with itty bitty stitches are never going to be fast to seam.
The yarn probably didn't make things easier either. It is utterly lovely, don't get me wrong - a blend of 50% cotton and 50% merino, both organic, by Hjerte Garn. It's soft and strong, and will probably pill very little. But it's also very fine and kinda sticky, so with all the colour changes it tangled like nobody's business. The stickiness does make the little fairisle Vs stand out and hold their shape very nicely, but an inexperienced knitter like me was always bound to want to Fling It. Lesson learned.
Part of my frustration was down to the pattern itself, too. As I knitted, blocked and laid out each piece, frowned over them, held them up, put them next to the Bug, frowned again, it became clear that the dimensions were turning out very odd. The body is very wide, but the sleeves and hem line both come up short on my average-sized boy. There are no pictures in the book of the finished cardigan worn by a baby, just of pretty flatlays. It goes to show how important it is to understand body measurements as well as construction methods - my Bug happens to be long in the body, and (since I wasn't able to measure him when I started this knit) I could have adjusted the pattern as I went had it been a top-down one. So an oddly three-quarter length thingy it is.
About halfway through I did start cheating a bit to speed things up. To do the raglan shaping I decreased stitches rather than binding them off. The button band and the neckline are meant to be knitted separately and sewn on but, just no. I picked up the stitches along the selvedge edge instead and called it done.
So there it is. A wee FIP cardie finished off with little clear buttons from my stash. And doesn't he look cute as a button in it? Phew. Just don't ask me to make another one.