We (me and the ladies of my knitting group) refer to it as "hitting the wall".
It usually happens when you're working on a project that constantly presents challenges and one more minor mistake happens. This "breaks the camel's back" and sends you to a realm of being pissed that you didn't even know existed. Or, you might just be irritated for other reasons and a minor mistake will make you want to have fist fights with your knitting. Whatever the case, you can no longer mentally handle even the simple demands of stockinette stitch. As a result of hitting the wall, your knitting goes into "time-out" until you can bear to look at its stupid face again.
Everyone hits the wall with a different force, and not everyone knows that they're going to even hit the wall until they suddenly find their faces meeting brick. Sometimes it takes something as simple as ONE. DROPPED. STITCH. to send you over the edge. Your knitting confidence can even get smashed to bits and you forget about the fact that you were once a super bad-ass knitter. ("I've knit 10 of those steeked, cable-knit, intarsia, turtleneck sweaters with the kangaroo pocket...I KNOW I can do this. Maybe this is the end for me.")
My face met brick the other day when I was having difficulty putting ears on a mere baby hat.
I could feel that I was getting irritated, but I was SO close to having the hat completed that I kept going. I started to have an inner dialogue with myself. Ok, it wasn't so inner. There was no one else there, so I was talking out loud.
"Hell, I don't know where to put these ears. I need a baby head for proper placement. I need to steal a baby...I just need it for 5 minutes. I swear, I'll put it back."
I then proceeded to make a mental list of all my friends with babies. I have many who are currently incubating babies, but few who have babies in their final form. And one of those completely formed babies doesn't even like me (We used to date. But he started crying whenever he saw me, so I figured that meant "I quit you" in baby speak. Baby Jacob, call me! (On your toy phone. I'll pick up, I swear.))
Void of a real baby head, I removed the ear again to try putting it in a different position. Then its bound off edge unravelled.
That did it.
"Oh, you want to unravel huh? I'll give you something to unravel about." So, I helped it along and pulled out all the stitching since it clearly didn't want to be an ear anymore. That's why you only see one ear in the pictures.
I continued to descend into a sea of irrationality until I put that bitch in time-out. It will get ears one day.
R.I.P. second ear. You brought that on yourself.