You can hand stitch some tulle over the worn spots to keep them in place. Don't use net as it is too rough. The tulle is very soft and won't harm the fabric. I wouldn't use the quilt any more, but it can be displayed away from sunlight and heat vents. These old quilts are very precious.If you display it on a rack, be sure to cover the wood with several layers of muslin. Wood and the finishes on it can harm old fabrics.
Mousie, I agree with the others. You know that quilt is full of love and my grandmother was always thrilled when she saw one of her quilts in shreds due to use and dragging it around wrapping up in it. It made her happy. I have to admit though that I don't use her quilts anymore either as I don't want to use them up. If you do want to use it occasionally ( because, well....heck, at some point it will end up as a rag for someone who doesn't love it like you and you won't be around to protect it anymore) I would most definitely use it. I might stitch some tulle over parts (as suggested). I no longer save my "good" stuff. I use the china for us, we use the "guest" towels, I wear my "good" clothes when I feel like it. What was I saving it for? I've found stuff I've saved and it now either no longer fits, isn't in style, isn't the right color for the house...etc.I would encourage you to make a replica of the quilt so that your DD will have a "new" one to carry on that you made in your DMIL's memory.
I have 2 antique quilts. One is my DH's family quilt. When I recieved it, I mad DH's 2 DB's a replica of the quilt. I was able to peek in the seams to see the original colors. The quilt was made around 1900. I found civil war fabrics! Any way, I digress.... I keep the quilts in muslin bags in the closet, re fold them 2-3 times a year. Do you have a guest bed you could put your Mom's quilt on? Away from the fur babies?
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