The rigging looks amazing, great work!
I can't agree more about having to plan ahead on rigging. I always try to build up and then out. Keeps me from knocking things off, which seems to be my best modeling ability.
I do understand about knocking bits off, I am pretty good at it too.
I work to the same plan basically, although this one has involved a fair bit of weaving, the larger scale does make it a bit easier.