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Review: “The Yarn Shop” by Susan Brabeau, Sunsout – 8.25/10

Publisher: Sunsout (USA), 1000 pieces

Title:  “The Yarn Shop”,  Artist: Susan Brabeau

Finished size: 23″ x 28″

OUR RATING: 8.25/10

It’s Susan Brabeau Week!

This is a week I’ve been anticipating for some time, working behind the scenes here at Jigsaw Junkies. This week is the first of our new artist-themed weeks. This week we’re focusing on Americana artist Susan Brabeau. There will be reviews of two of her puzzles this week culminating in a lovely interview with her on the weekend. Very exciting stuff!

Earlier this week I reviewed a brand new puzzle release called “And The Winner is….” Today our review is of an older Susan Brabeau puzzle called “The Yarn Shop”.

Box Quality (7/10):

The Sunsout boxes are very large and square in shape. They’re oversized compared to most boxes on the market. This takes up more shelf space but also provides a nice big image when you use the box lid for reference.


Three of the sides are the same, showing an image of the puzzle, puzzle name, artist, piece count, finished size, and Sunsout logo. The fourth side has a bar code.



The back of the box is plain white.

Inside the box:

Nothing comes inside the box except the bag of puzzle pieces. There was a fair amount of puzzle dust in my bag of pieces. The pieces were fully separated and undamaged.

The Image (10/10):

I’m a fan of Susan Brabeau’s humorous Americana images, but this one strikes especially close to my heart since my mother was a passionate crafts woman. Knitting, crocheting, cross-stitching–you name it, she did it. On and off, when I haven’t been obsessing over jigsaws, I’m been known to knit a row or two myself. So “The Yarn Shop” is right up my alley. (Main Street? Village square?)

There’s lots of knittery goodness in this scene, from the stacks of different colored yarn, to the crocheted items around the shop, to the women in the background working on big projects, to the purple sweater on the shopkeeper. All these yarn-y bits lend a wide variety of colors and textures around the scene that make for a good jigsaw puzzle. Of course, I also love the boxer dog, the little boy, and the expressions on all the faces. It’s a classic Susan Brabeau scene!

Puzzle Quality (8/10):

You can see our full brand comparison on Sunsout here.

Having just assembled “And the Winner Is….” (another Susan Brabreau puzzle from Sunsout), and having really enjoyed the quality on that puzzle, I was a bit bummed to notice that the quality wasn’t quite as good on this one. “And the Winner Is….” is a brand new 2016 release whilst “The Yarn Shop” is several years old (there’s no date on the box, but I was able to find reviews of it as early as 2014). The pieces felt thinner overall and there was more puzzle dust. It wasn’t a huge detractor once I got rolling, but I did prefer the quality of “And the Winner Is…”, so I gave this one a one-point deduction. It’s possible I got a late run unit or it was a one-off with a different manufacturer.

Overall, the Sunsout quality was still fairly consistent. As you can see in the close-up below, this is a random-cut puzzle with a wide variety of piece shapes. There’s no issue with thinking a piece goes where it really doesn’t fit. You can move small groups of pieces around with care and they’ll hold together. The image reproduction of the original painting was good.

(click on any image for a closer view)

Assembly (8/10):

This is a more challenging puzzle to assemble than “And the Winner Is….” due to more muted colors and more distribution of the same or similar colors throughout the entire scene. I’d rate it a medium difficulty puzzle.

I did the border first and then worked on the main figures of the shopkeeper and customer. The dark blue coat is a distinct color that doesn’t appear around the scene as is the purple sweater on the shopkeeper.

The front wall, window, door, and awning are all structural elements that seemed sensible to get down as a foundation. I started with the black in the awning and then built up the red and purple ‘frets’ around the black. There are quite a few ‘light wood’ textures in the image (like the door, table, shelves, and floor) but there’s enough variation in the color and pattern to enable these different sections to be done without too much frustration.

The various knit and crochet projects around the scene are fairly small and easy to find among the pieces. I liked those bits the best.


As usual in a Susan Brabreau puzzle, the characters are fun to do. Each one has unique clothing and expression. The central rug and hardwood floor were fairly straight-forward. The basket and the boy’s blue overalls were easy.


The balls of yarn were the last bits to go together for me. Lots of the same or very similar colors spread throughout the scene, and more of a random pattern on the yarn, made them a bit trickier to piece together.


This 1000 piece Susan Brabeau puzzle from Sunsout is a medium difficulty puzzle good for those who like a little more challenge. I enjoyed the random-cut piece, the art style, and the humor in this image, particularly the characters in the scene. There’s a lot of white-to-light-purple, and similar colors appear distributed throughout the scene, so it’s a bit trickier to assemble than some jigsaws.  Recommended for fans of Americana, Susan Brabeau, or the knitter in your life! Score: 8.25/10

Where to Get It:

This puzzle is 15% off for the next three days only at Puzzle Warehouse (through 7/10/2016). Click below!


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