Friday 12 January 2024

A jigsaw challenge for the New Year - the 3000 piece Garden of Sun Signs from Ravensburger

Towards the end of last year I found myself getting back into jigsaw puzzles. I bought a couple of 1000 piece jigsaws with my birthday money, and got out some of my favourites to do again. I also started watching some puzzlers on YouTube, and that made me want to have a go at a larger and more challenging puzzle.

I spent a lot of time researching. I decided to go with a Ravensburger puzzle as I've completed many of their puzzles in the past and always found that they had a good variety of piece shapes that were enjoyable to put together. I settled upon 3000 for the number of pieces, mainly because any larger than that I just don't have the space. 3000 pieces forms a jigsaw that is about the size of my dining table. 

The design that I chose is called Garden of Sun Signs by Ravensburger (affiliate link). I kept a close eye on prices for a few weeks and found it reduced to around £34 on Black Friday which I thought was a good deal. It's an illustration of a garden filled with plants and trees, and contains a representation of each sign of the zodiac. I'm not particularly into astrology, I chose this puzzle because I liked the illustration style, the detail, and I thought that it had several areas which would be easy to separate and work on. There is a border on each side which looks quite distinctive, and plenty of variation in colour and texture.

Ravensburger Garden of Sun Signs 3000 piece jigsaw puzzle

I started the puzzle a couple of days after Christmas with a big sort of the pieces. It took me about two hours, and I made great use of the jigsaw puzzle sorting trays (affiliate link) which I received for Christmas. I sorted into two different types of edge pieces, internal pieces with a border section, pinks and purples, browns, blacks, and other interesting pieces.

Jigsaw pieces sorted into sorting trays

That left me with a lovely big box of other pieces which I put to one side!

Box of unsorted jigsaw puzzle pieces

I decided to start by working on the brown pieces. These are mainly found in the top half of the jigsaw along the top border. There are also some distinctive blue clouds which I had picked out in my initial sort. I soon discovered that most of the brown pieces were also linked to the large trees, so I decided to work on those as well.

This meant that I had to do another resort of the pieces to pick out all the tree branches. Then as my eye for finding the pieces that I wanted developed I went on to do a third sort through. These pictures show my progress so far after three sorts. As you can see, although I think I'm doing well with putting the pieces together I'm still missing a few pieces!

Garden of Sun Signs jigsaw in progress

These two sections connect together and along with a third smaller section in the bottom right they make up almost the whole top few rows of the jigsaw. For the time being I'm working on the two removable sections from my puzzle mat, as the dining table is currently in use for another project. I'd love to be able to spread it all out, but I know that this is a long term project and I can't justify taking up the whole table for months at a time!

Garden of Sun Signs by Ravensburger jigsaw in progress

I've now started working on the purple and pink rocky areas which mainly connect to what I already have in place. The tree branches were challenging but doable, however the rocky areas are much more difficult. There are very subtle colour and shape variations which help, but I'm mainly working by shape sorting and trial and error. I'm fairly confident that I've pulled out most of the pieces at least, but it's slow going when I'm only placing a few pieces each session. 

This is definitely a project which is going to occupy me for a little while yet!

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