I use ready made patterns and create my own, it depends on my mood and the time I have. The type of appliqué you are doing is called broderie perse and the technique is no different from needleturn. With needle turn you pick your own fabrics to make a flower rather than cut out a flower and appliqué it down.
once the fusing material is on the fabric it's impossible to remove it all, it is difficult to needle and will need to be. Machine appliquéd. I don't think it is cheating, it is just different, another method. There are people that have arthritis for instance, that have a hard time cutting and needling. The fusibles give them an outlet for appliqué. There are also patterns that cannot be hand appliquéd because they are so tiny or narrow, fusible works great on these. Fusible works great for something that doesn't need to be washed, like a wall hanging.
it's all quilting, and different techniques are more or less appealing to different individuals for a variety of reasons. I have used fusibles in art quilts, where no other technique would work as well.
gini in north idaho
Sorry response is so long, but I have trouble accessing the site a lot. my son is just finishing up a tour in Afghanistan, while his wife is home holding things together. He will be back sometime this spring. Then in the fall they are off to North Carolina which isn't so bad because my family in at the jersey shore!