Quarantine project: Waterloo woman tackles 40,000-piece Disney puzzle
KITCHENER -- Jigsaw puzzles have become popular quarantine projects for people looking to challenge themselves and pass time during the COVID-19 pandemic.
One Waterloo woman took the idea to the next level by finishing a puzzle of more than 40,000 pieces in 10 weeks.
“You start small, you move up, you find a small section to work on,” says Erin McCafferty.
McCafferty completed a 40,320-piece puzzle in 74 days, which is the most ambitious puzzle she’s ever attempted.
“Even my parents, they've never seen anything like this,” says McCafferty’s boyfriend Jon Courtois.
Sidelined by a leg injury and the COVID-19 shutdowns, McCafferty had nothing but time to fill and began completing 1,000-piece puzzles at first.
“I was getting tagged in a lot of Facebook posts about these 40,000-piece Disney puzzles,” she explains.
With encouragement from her friends online, she ended up ordering one of the puzzles.
“It showed up and then I started working on it the next day,” McCafferty says.
She began working on the 10-paneled project in May, averaging a panel a week and piece by piece completing the puzzle entirely by herself.
“I’ve been working this whole time so I just kind of sit back at the end of the day and admire what she’s been doing,” says Courtois.
Her kids, ages three and nine, started working on their own 300 to 500-piece puzzle projects.
The huge puzzle that began as a passion project soon became a family competition.
“His sister-in-law and I had started off. She had started a couple of weeks before I did so she had finished a little bit before me. I think she did hers in 80 something odd days, so I beat that one too,” says McCafferty.
She says that the only time she felt any frustration was towards the end.
“The last two sections, once the weather's nice out here, I was like, I can't do this anymore, it's too much.”
Now that it is complete, the next step is figuring out where the puzzle might fit.
“Maybe getting a hold of someone who makes frames and give them the dimensions and see if they can make something for them,” says Courtois.
The largest puzzle she has ever heard of is 50,000-pieces and if she finds enough time she would challenge herself to complete one of those too.