Before I started designing I didn’t really understand the difference between paid and free patterns.
Now as a designer, I definitely understand why we charge. It’s a lot of time, mental strength (math!) and yarn to figure out bringing your brain child to life.
Of my 11 designs, 9 are paid. The 2 that aren’t are dishcloths with pop culture designs that I could in theory get in trouble for selling if I did that because intellectual property!
Some free patterns I’ve made are amazing, some aren’t. One paid pattern doesn’t even specify the weight of yarn that’s used.
Then there are amazing ones like tincanknits that are free and I’m still not 100% sure how that’s possible.
If you’re unsure about the designer you can check notes (on ravelry) for the pattern you’re looking to buy. In theory most people get their patterns tested or hire a technical editor. I’ve done both and it’s really a personal preference. But we want to make sure there aren’t errors in the pattern so that you can make the item with ease.
You can also check if they have an etsy store, for reviews on the pattern.
Plus most of us are open to answering questions about the patterns as well.