Sunday, June 30, 2013

Puzzle Madness

I received a puzzle as a gift. I lovelovelove jigsaw puzzles but I never get to do them. This is because puzzles require: the entire dining room table, good light, and plenty of time. When do I have any of those things? 

Summer, that's when. So I received this puzzle as a gift. A gift. 

Day one: "the easy part!" Find the edges, put together the frame. Easy, right? No. 

NO. This puzzle has an interior composed of lots of different colors. It's deceptive. You miss the fact that the edges (2 or 3 solid inches of edge) are EXACTLY ALIKE IN EVERY WAY. Kill me.

Anyway, it took the better part of a day to find the edge pieces, pull out the corners, and then (entirely using the process of elimination) build the frame.

I also sorted the pieces into colors using leftover takeout containers. Because when a puzzle is officially Hard As Hell (TM) being anal turns out to be not just useful but essential.

(Above) Day one, midnight: some progress.

(Above) Day Two: a false sense of achievement. I got the saffron, the red peppercorns, the green cardamom, and the paprika going pretty well.

Day Two: Closeup.

(Above) Day Three: Keep in mind that Charles was in California. So I was doing this for several hours every day, with complete silence. Iain was at camp. And yet...see those wide open areas on the sides? It was like watching a slow-moving storm. The bad part was on its way.

(Above) Day Four: Spices pretty much done. Only pain and suffering now. How many more days?

So this is when Charles returned. I continued to work on the puzzle that day. The next day I flew to DC to do a tiny little talk. (No, really. 20 minutes. But I got a great tour of the National Portrait Gallery out of it!) I was in DC for 5 days. I said to Charles, "I'll just leave the puzzle here and finish it when I get back."

Oh, no. No, no, no. I thought maybe another day or two.

Instead, it was an odyssey. I spent a couple of days trying to see patterns in the beige. Huge mistake. My eyes started to cross and I spent one miserable night dreaming about pieces failing to fit together.

New strategy: I sorted the pieces into types. By far the largest set was the basic piece - two roundy bits, two roundy-bit receptacles. But there were about 5 other types. Once sorted, it was possible to move methodically through the potential fits, trying one piece after another.

It took FOREVER.

How long? I started the puzzle on June 14.

Charles returned from LA on June 19.

I left for DC on June 20.

I returned on June 24.

Today is June 30.

So the final count is...12 days or so. Not counting the time I spent dreaming about it. 

Gah. So, so hard. This was not for beginners.

Next I'm making a quilt. Angsty blog post to follow.

1 comment:

Miriam said...

woah that looks more like torture than fun.