When you guys speak, I listen. To prove it, I offer up photos of the swatch I knitted at your suggestion to test the giant black MIL sweater's felting potential (complete with 4 inch square in red thread for gauge testing). You probably can't really see the difference in texture from the photos but it worked brilliantly. The Cascade Eco+ firmed up nicely so I don't think she'll have the stretching problems any more. However, thanks to swatch testing I didn't overfelt it--the texture is still very sweater-like. The sleeves shortened just enough while I was able to block out the zipper section so it didn't ripple.
Another case in point: following your helpful advice, I took the Rather Huge Noni Bag to a shoe repair shop to have the leather handles sewn on (since my New Jersey suburb isn't rolling in saddle shops--LOL!). He did a wonderful job of making the handles strong and secure.
Here's the up close photo of the shoemaker's stitching.
And here's my Noni Bag all ready to carry yarn, books and the kitchen sink. Did I mention it's Rather Huge?
Thank you all for the incredibly useful, truly fabulous suggestions! What would I do without the yarn geniuses here on RTY?
Oh, and Happy Valentine's Day!