PRETTY KETTLE OF FISH|
PRETTY KETTLE OF FISH debuted in the
Quilter's Newsletter Magazine : Volume 16, Number 7, ISSUE #174, July/August, 1985, so it is more current than most other designs illustrated in the compendiums. However, see Maggie Malone's 5,500 QUIlT BLOCK DESIGNS, #1091, located in her Nine Patch Section.
On the title, first of all,"a pretty/fine kettle of fish," is apparently a corruption of "kiddle of fish," in which a kiddle is a basket set in the opening of a weir for catching fish. It is not clear why, but the expression refers to any difficult or exceptionally annoying situation.
The design is really about playfulness though, as regards its use of double meanings. There is also a play on words, as regards the "pretty" here referring to both the attractiveness of the quilt design and used as an emphasis on the difficulty of a situation. The whole block, not just the name is one delightful romp, a kettle of fish in itself — not at all annoying, though, the outcome rather quite amazing.
For another quilt design title at this site with an especially interesting play on words, see JACQUES IN THE BOAT (a play on "Jack in the Box").
More designs involving playfulness might include:
PUSS IN THE CORNER
BIRDS IN THE AIR
BIRDS AND KITES
FLAG IN, FLAG OUT
TO MARKET, TO MARKET