With a new baby at home, I'm surprised that I managed to quilt it before he turned two - since it's not a small quilt - but somehow I did.
It came with us when we moved countries and for most of its life (begun in 1993, finished in 1995) covered our sofa. Hence the reason why it began falling apart. The weight of various bodies continually sitting on it and putting strain on its fibres meant that it became old before its time. If I had rescued it when I first noticed how fragile it had become, it might have been an easier task to repair it - but I didn't. Instead I let it go ... and let it go ...
As is often the case, the solution was quite easy. I replaced a number of badly damaged pieces simply by making a patch in the correct size and shape to cover the offending pieces, and hand appliqueing them in place. Some pieced blocks have up to half their pieces covered in this manner (and if I had used fabric that was similar to the existing pieces, you probably wouldn't even be able to tell which pieces are new - but I wasn't too concerned about keeping it looking original, hence the mish-mash of fabric choices).
Other options for quilting include: to quilt in a complementary pattern that will not compete with the existing quilting stitches on the back; machine quilt (not keen on this option); or, leave it plain. At the moment I've decided on the last option - until I can decide what would look best and how much extra time I want to invest in the quilt.
By my estimation, I've replaced - or rebuilt - over one third of the quilt. It's taken a few hours each evening over less than ten days. Not a lot of time, really, to gain a quilt that is once again usable and which will NOT be going back on the sofa. Instead, rather than sitting on it, perhaps little bodies can snuggle up under it and enjoy its warmth and comfort on a cold night. Or, it can be used to wrap dollies and teddies when little people play 'house'. Perhaps even some big people will be glad of its extra warmth on winter nights. Whatever its use, perhaps the next twenty years or so will see it better loved than the last twenty.
And if it needs repairing, I promise to do it more promptly next time. (I'm just wondering how much of the quilt will end up being rebuilt before its life is finally over!)