Is it better to do the math before starting a project, or should one just launch into it? I want to make a scarf for a friend. I'd like to get it to her by Valentine's day. Already I've discovered a flaw in my thinking - that's 14 days away. That doesn't mean I have 14 days to work on the project - it means I have to finish it in 10 days so I can get it in the mail to her.
I'd like to make her a lace scarf that starts with 47 stitches and reduces to 32 in the middle - there are two sides that have to be grafted together. A quick calculation indicates that there are about 400 rows in the scarf. That's 40 rows a day, if there's no frogging. The only thing I have to compare it to is the Secrets of the Stole. That has 99 stitches in a row and I was able to get only 10 to 20 rows done in a night. The difference is that is a complex ever-changing pattern. The scarf I'm thinking of uses four different patterns, but they are predictable.
I am not a slow knitter, but I'm not particularly fast either.
Also to be considered, I have a hat that I am very close to finishing and I really want to have it done before I start. I don't actually have the yarn for the scarf, although I know where I'm going to get it.
I could send my friend a box of chocolates with the promise of the scarf to follow shortly. I could pick an easier pattern with thicker yarn. I'd like to lock myself in a tower and just knit it until it's done, but that's an unlikely scenario.
So back to my original question - is doing the math before hand a smart way to make life more manageable or should one just go for it figuring that the more you try to get done, the more you get done even if you don't get it all done?