Now, we all know that wips are not all created alike. There is a discrete system of classification in force for all of them. We are talking about the knitter's equivalent of Linneaus' binomial nomencalture, the Periodic Table of the Elements, or if you are a particle physicist, the Eightfold Way.
The Long Haul
There are those wips that are what the French call 'un travail de longue haleine', meaning that they are just complicated enough that they will take a while to finish. But you will finish them, there is simply no question. They strike the right balance of doability, interest and promise of a statisfying garment. For me the Anemoi mittens are in this category--the magnetic chart holder is saving my place, and when I have a long stretch of time, I will have the gumption to sit down and refocus my attention on them. They are not the problem here.
You have your pile o' first socks that are patiently awaiting their mates, relegated to the purgatory of knitted garments. "Any day now..." they seem to be politely wondering. At some point you'll get so annoyed with yourself, you'll just finish one and wonder afterwards what your damn problem was to begin with and why can't you be the kind of (good) knitter that has discipline and fortitude rather than a (bad) slothful knitter whose indolence prevents any project completion in a normal time frame. However this category does seem to cycle fairly quickly, and although a new one pops into the category just as another one is completed, it's not a major irritation because it shows that a certain level of productivity is happening.
It seemed like a good idea at the time...
Then you have the out of gas wips--the projects that you began with a sense of unbridled enthusiasm. Perhaps an impulse purchase contributed to your initial élan, you were convinced by a well meaning and eager LYS employee (we're talking hypotheticals here), began the project over a weekend and then just sort of fizzled out over time. There are plenty of those hanging around this joint and I truly hate them the most--an odd baby sweater for a friend whose child is now 3, a scarf that when it comes right down to it, looks craptastic and fugly in the light of day and you just can't bear to interact with enough to even frog it. Their role is to mock you very time you go to your knitting corner looking for something else. You almost wish that your cat would pee on them or that one of your kids would accidentally smear Nutella on them, so you could feign appropriate stern dismay but then (secretly, joyfully) thrown them out.
The last category is indeed the most inexplicable. It is the least understood of the species. Please tell me why a knit blogger, someone's whose voracious appetite for posting finished projects in a sort of pathetic primary school 'show and tell' kind of way, would finish knitting a sweater over a year ago, seam half of it, go get a cup of coffee and then never bother to complete it? WTF? After reading the Subway Knitter and her discussions of finishing it suddenly dawned on me Hello, you have a sweater that is 98% done in an Ikea bag upstairs?!! So, after a trying day at work, I gathered my wits about me, went upstairs and retrieved it, and am wearing it to work today!
Pattern: LYS 'Three Day Sweater" (Yes, a hilarious title)
Yarn: Woolpak 8 ply in Royal red
Needles: Size 11 circulars
So, there you have my utterly scientific system of classification. See how the Darling Resident Marxist Curmudgeon's empirical mind has rubbed off on me? Please let me know if there are any categories I am forgetting...