I think the goal is to keep the number as close to 3 as possible. Craft timer takes into account the following:
1. Moon Phase
2. Day of the week
4. (I think it mentions guild support)
It does not take into account the following theoretical factors:
1. Weather (double weather is possibly a +2)
2. Mog House energy (a few people believe this, and I have seen some notable differances in expected results when the mog house energy is the same, str, or weak verses the crystal used WHEN U ARE IN YOUR MOG HOUSE ONLY
3. Time of Day (this is extremely theoretical, but...with some testing, the theory seems to hold water. Therefore, it is a bit better than just a hypothesis)
4. Equipment (I have no personal experience, but I craft naked just in case. Many swear by the elemental staffs.)
5. Guild Vacation day (Ie Darksday for cooking) seems to be a big negative to the craft. If you think about it a bit, it makes some sense. Drk Crystal is decay which is obviously a more difficult thing to control in relationship to cooking. Firesday is wood working, and it makes sense that fire is not the easiest way to work with wood. Therefore, I think there is merit to testing this hypothesis. It also explains why you can easily skill up and have sucess (in cooking synths) as many as ten levels over your skill, accept when working with dark crystals which seem difficult to have the same sucess rate (and skill ups) any more than 8 levels above your craft.
Anyway, all of this is just theory. However, I will say that the craft timer factors would be very close to being a Law. Sorta like evolution, there are still many sceptics about Directional Crafting. The only true concensus seems to be that day of the week and moon phase effect crafting results.
I love it when stickies pop back up to the top of the list ^^
Another note, HQ is EXTREMLY different.
Essentially, when you add up the pluses and minuses, you get an artificial skill level for you AT THAT MOMENT IN TIME. Your best skill ups come when the cap is 3 levels over your skill level with all factors taken into account.