Is a Puzzlement…

YA and I both received jigsaw puzzles for the hoidays.  Since I had several days off, I thought it would be fun to get one of them started.  Of course, I should have realized that the apple hasn’t fallen far from the tree where jigsaw puzzles are concerned.

We started the puzzle about about 1:30 p.m., on the card table in the living room.  We finished the puzzle at 10:15 p.m.  With short timeouts for refreshing a beverage or making a quick sandwich, we both sat at the table until we were finished.

Sitting with her for that length of time I began to see some differences in how we approached the puzzle.  I like to go through all the pieces one by one at the beginning to find the edge pieces.  YA just like to sift through looking for edge pieces.  I tend to look for a piece that fits a particular spot.  YA likes to choose a piece and then figure out where it goes.  (Her method was seriously aided by a large fold out picture of the puzzle – which she hogged most of the day.)

The next morning my friend in Chicago texted me a photo of the puzzle she and her husband were working on.  They have all the pieces sorted by color and instead of assembling all the edges first, they work on sections by color.  It’s fascinating to realize that there are probably many other ways to work on a puzzled that I have never encountered or thought of.  I’m pretty sure that this realization will not change how I like to do puzzles although this will be tested out soon.  YA’s puzzle is made by the same company so I’m assuming it will have a large fold-out picture.  Maybe I can hog it when we sit down to do hers!

Any method to your madness (puzzle or otherwise)?

26 thoughts on “Is a Puzzlement…”

  1. In her junior high years my sister was spoiled in many ways. She was diagnosed with rheumatic fever and was supposed to be careful about overdoing. She could not do PE, ironic considering she later became a
    PE teacher. She milked it. We were very close and I put up with it except for a couple things.
    One was jigsaw puzzles. I had two rules about doing puzzles together. 1) If you did not help turn over the pieces, then you could not do the puzzle either. 2) You did the border first.
    Then I had preferences, such as I got to do the sky, which I think all of our puzzles had. I thought it right to start filling in from the edges and not do the salient or some arresting image in the puzzle first.
    Cleo did not help turn over the pieces. but she did do the puzzle with me. Irritating! And she liked doing the salient. Maddening! Sometimes I pulled a snit about turning over the pieces. But it did not interfere with our bond. Only time and separation could do that.
    Twenty years later when she and her husband were living in grad student housing at UND they had a dr. living next door. His thing was about her rheumatic fever. He had proved in research that many of the people diagnosed with it really had mononucleosis. He proved it in her case and had it removed from her medical records.

    Liked by 7 people

  2. I love doing jigsaw puzzles. This Christmas I received 3 (2 0f them are Puzzle Twists – which are much more challenging). I already had 3 unopened puzzles plus recently bought 4 more. So I am set for at least a few months. I use YA’s technique when starting out – sift through the box looking for edge pieces. I don’t have a large enough table to put all the pieces out (almost always do 1000 or 750 piece) so I continue to sift through the box sorting by color and working small areas at a time. Eventually the small areas get connected to other small areas until I have the puzzle about 3/4 done. Then I will put the remaining pieces out and complete it. I know this sounds like too much work for many people but it works well for me. I like puzzles that have a fold out picture. Buffalo Games puzzles usually have one. Yesterday late afternoon I started a 750 piece one and by 9P it was over 3/4 done. I didn’t work straight through, though. When I am stuck, it helps to walk away for awhile and come back to it with fresh eyes.

    Liked by 5 people

  3. OT: Today I go up to Chaska for an endoscopic ultrasound, sort of like a colonoscopy from the other end, without the nasty prep. I kept assuming there had to be rules for me about getting ready. But I never received anything about it. I have been dsitracted about Sandra and did not focus well on this. Last night I looked it up. Should have stopped aspirin a week ago. Could have guess that myself, should have. But I am following the rules about food and drink I found online. Neither allowed today. I need a jigsaw puzzle to distract me but do not have any.

    Liked by 4 people

  4. I use many methods working puzzles.
    For a recent one, I sorted the pieces by beaks and claws. Very challenging.
    Google World of Birds puzzle and you can see it.

    Liked by 4 people

  5. Morning!
    We just never got into puzzles much. I had one as a kid showing the interior of the Apollo 11 capsule, and we glued it down and shellac’d it (or whatever mom figured out) and it may still be down in my old bedroom. (A ‘pro’ or ‘con’ to having never moved far?)
    The kids had small puzzles. Kelly and I did a puzzle last summer; must have been fairly small as we did it on a coffee table. As K-two says, had to pick out the pieces that fit on the table.

    I have very deliberate methods of doing things. Farming has so many things that should be done in order. Theater and lighting too.
    A lot of the farm magazines will ask, ‘Are you doing this because your grandfather did it this way?’ Times have changed… sometimes we need someone else to point that out.
    Routines are easy, right? Comforting. Change is hard. Needed, but hard.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. I participate im perhaps one or maybe two puzzles a year, all of them when the family is ensconced in a cabin up north for a week. It is consensus that we try to build the edge first, which makes sense because it helps you orient things inside. Everyone has their own strategy—my granddaughter who especially likes puzzles tends to separate groups of color or pattern and build them in clumps. My daughter, her mother, often locates pieces by their shape rather than color, a special aptitude I don’t share. I usually like to take a piece and figure out where it goes before placing it. It helps if you choose pieces with distinctive features, of course.
    So everyone has their own technique but completing the puzzle, which after all just entails placing one piece after another, gets accomplished without rules.

    Liked by 4 people

  7. Jigsaw puzzles have been a big deal here since the Covid isolation . We now have a dresser in solarium on which a 24 x 55″ tabletop resides, just big enough for a 500+ piece puzzle will fit. This means we can stand while doing the puzzle, which feels so much better than sitting (since we’re sitting so much with reading…).

    Husband always finds the frame, and then works on some central area, or around edges. I’m kind of in and out – I take pieces by color that constitute some section of “low hanging fruit”. I’ve set up the ironing board next to dresser for this purpose. : ) I also study closely the picture (usually just on the box) to see where individual pieces belong.

    AND, since the work surface is brown, if a ton of pieces are close to that color it’s really hard to distinguish their shape, so I’ve taped some white paper over part of said table top for those – then the lighter pieces can be on the brown surface. This seems to be more important to me than to Husband.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. I’m not a puzzle person. I like to spend my relaxation time reading, writing, or crocheting. Crochet projects without a pattern can be a little bit of a puzzle. For example, I like to look at something that someone else made and figure out how they did it. Sometimes it’s really easy. Sometimes it takes a little counting. Crocheted hats attract me and they’re often done in the round. To know how to do it, you simply have to count from the beginning circle, then figure out how many increases have been made. For example, there are usually 6 or 8 stitches in the first round. After that you look at the largest or widest round and count the stitches in that row. Then you count the rows between and the rest is math. How many times do you increase per row to get from the smallest row to the widest? Once you know how to do this, you can make just about anything that you see. It doesn’t work so well when standing in an artist’s store or a stand. They don’t really appreciate you doing that and you can see them silently asking, “Well, are you going to buy it or not?” I have bought two crocheted hats to learn from and, as far as I’m concerned, it was money well spent.

    I like to edit what I have written if I have the time. I try not to post things here that I haven’t edited for grammar and punctuation. I don’t always do it right, I know. Sometimes doing the editing and keeping true to the original thought can be a puzzle. It’s also one that I really enjoy. I think I missed my calling sometimes. I think I could have been a pretty good editor. But that’s just me thinking again.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I’ve done the same thing at times with sewing, Krista – have seen some clothing item and tried to figure out a pattern for it. But when you started talking about increases, it’s like reading Greek! 🙂

      I’ve also been interested in editing, and have wondered if it’s something I would have liked to do as a vocation.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    I enjoy jigsaw puzzles in the wintertime. During garden season, I cannot be interested in them at all. I am a sort out the edges, put the edge together, then sort the colors kind of puzzler. I just finished one here that was a simple 500 piece artist’s rendition of Newport, Ri. I found it on sale at Costco and it was perfect for unwinding and getting myself into the routine of AZ life. I have another one that is of an artist’s studio that is 1000 pieces and I suspect much harder.

    The only one I could not do was a black and white puzzle of zebras. That one conquered me.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I will admit that a puzzle of the Eiffel tower at night did me in. I got all the edges and I got the tower but 2/3 of the puzzle was basically just black and I gave up after a day or so.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Linda is the daughter of a friend of mine. I’ve know her since she was a year and half old. She was always smart, and has an amazing ability to see puzzle pieces and where they fit in. I have no idea how she does it, but she’ll walk by as you’re toiling away on a puzzle, pick up a random piece and plop it into place; just like that. She’s now a pathologist, so I imagine she notices details that escape me.

        Liked by 4 people

  10. I love puzzles of all sorts, not just jigsaw puzzles. Word puzzles, Sudoku, crossword, you name it, if it offers a challenge, I’m game. Some puzzles, like for instance jigsaw puzzles, lend themselves better to a communal effort, some are better as solitary pursuits. When I worked at the alternative school, every morning before classes started, there were three of us staff members who would sit together at a table in the cafeteria and do the crossword puzzle in the Pioneer Press.

    I can’t remember the last time I’ve done a jigsaw puzzle. With a cat in the house it’s hard to leave one on a tabletop for any length of time.

    Liked by 3 people

  11. Back in my college days, I started making stained glass lampshades. This was decades before stained glass became a popular hobby, long before there were patterns available or before there were retail outlets for stained glass. I visited a local stained glass studio, one that built and repaired windows for churches, etc. and begged them to sell me some glass and the lead channel (known as came) that one needed to assemble a lampshade.

    If the accumulated angle of a set number of pieces added up to 360 degrees, I reasoned, then the pieces arranged edge to edge would form a flat piece. If the total of the angles equalled less than 360, the assembled trapezoids would form a truncated cone. By progressively decreasing the sum of the angles, I could form bands that when stacked would describe a rough hemisphere. The only patterns I needed were templates for the angle of the pieces in each band.

    Robin has been working on a quilt made from Japanese fabrics, mostly ikat, some of which she has repurposed from vintage garments and some of which is traditional fabric she has ordered online. The pattern is something of her own creation, using elements from other patterns in a new way. But arriving at the ideal arrangement of the various pieces and colors and how to treat the edges has been a complex puzzle she has been working on since well before the Holidays. So far she just has it laid out where she can contemplate it in total and move pieces around before committing to final assembly.

    Liked by 6 people

  12. I rarely do puzzles of the crossword/sudoku variety. They aren’t satisfying or rewarding to me. The sort of puzzle that captures my attention are things like the mysteries that I come across when I’m working on genealogy. It’s always satisfying to work out an answer no one else has and likewise there are family connections that people in other family trees agree upon but which I can demonstrate (if anyone were to ask) just can’t be so.

    Liked by 2 people

  13. We gave up puzzles when we had terriers, as they believed every piece that fell on the floor was theirs to gobble and chew.

    Our grandson is 3 and loves jigsaw puzzles. He spends long periods of time doing them. He seems to look for pieces that go together by color, and doesn’t try to do the edges first. He has the most wonderful floor puzzles.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Ole and Sven came into the bar for a celebration.
    “Set ’em up! Drinks are on us!”
    Bartender: “What are you celebrating?”
    “51 days!”
    Bartender: “51 days? I don’t understand”
    “We finished the puzzle in 51 days! The box said 2 to 5 years!”

    Liked by 6 people

  15. I do the edge pieces first. When the entire edge is laid out, then I look for the brightest colors and most obvious sections of the picture. Areas like sky or grass or snow come last, when you start going by shape instead of by color.

    The Twist puzzles throw a little extra challenge into it.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s kind of hard to explain but the basic premise is that the picture on the box does not match exactly to the puzzle that you put together. So especially when you get toward the end it’s like revealing a little mystery

        Liked by 1 person

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