Rosemary asked how many squares were in good shape, so I spread the counterpane out again and took a close look.
Almost every square has at least some tiny problem. The corner at the stem end of the leaf is a common area of trouble -- I think it might be the cast off. And although most of the damage is to the threads holding the squares together, often a thread at the edge of the square is damaged, too -- maybe just on one row. Fewer than a quarter of the squares were in good shape.
Since there are a lot of squares (18 rows of 14 squares each, or 252) that does mean there are perhaps 50 that are in good shape -- I stopped counting after a while. But all those squares that are almost okay are nagging at me.
Honestly, I don't want this to overwhelm me, especially because it isn't my favorite of the embossed pattern. I'm reminded of an article in Spin Off by a man named Charles Black. He wanted an oriental rug but couldn't afford the kind he loved unless he bought a damaged one. He did, with the provision that the gallery's restorer had to show him how to fix it, which she did. But after repairing the rug he bought he decided that it would just be easier to weave a rug. So he bought a wheel and learned to spin, and to dye, and built a loom and learned to weave. Then he spent a couple of hours a day for a year or so to weave a truly beautiful rug -- and that's what he thought was easier than doing repair.
That's what I'm afraid this repair job would turn into.
Right now I'm thinking of using a sewing machine, fabric glue, and maybe some kind of binding to turn it into something for one of the children's beds. But that seems so sad that I think I'll put it away for a while. The back of my brain can ruminate on it while I work on other things, and maybe I'll come up with a better idea.
Besides, I've just been consumed by the need to needlefelt my daughter a Blue's Clues "Paparika." And if I make Paprika, I'm pretty sure a Baby Cinnamon is not far behind.