I am primarily a hand quilter. I find the rocking motion of hand quilting very relaxing. It might take longer, but it's good therapy! The following is a random collection of thoughts and information on how I work. What works for me might not work for you, or anyone else. Nothing is a deep secret, so feel free to share.
Hand quilting - I use John James size 10, always. They hold a sharp point, are thin enough to go through the fabric quite easily, and are short.
Applique: I like straw needles!
I'm not a batting snob. The batting I use changes with each project. I do have a mid-arm machine on a frame for machine quilting. But for hand quilting, my preference is Hobbs Heirloom Tuscany.
Online Fabric Shopping:
I have never, ever been dissatisfied with eQuilter.com. Not once. They are fast, will go out of their way to help you, and the supply of fabrics seems to be endless! The tools on their website never fail to help me.
More to come!