In my defense, I didn't go looking for patterns, but one (well, five really) jumped out at me from behind a bush (RSS feed) and, what can I say other than that I'm a sucker for a free pattern, especially one that's only free for a limited time? I've recently downloaded The Sexy Knitter's thummed
Muffalette, Kate Davies' Fair Isle
Mucklemuff and Mary Jane Mucklestone's matching
Muckle-mitts*, all Christmas or New Year's presents and thus they free for a limited time.
Those are not my current projects (though they've all been queued because they're lovely and I don't have a single muff** and now I have very different patterns for two of them!). My current project is a slightly different proposition: Liz Abinante of Feministy is doing
The Great Cowl KAL, a series of five cowl KALs with the first one
Flurries Cowl currently being free. If you knit it and submit a picture by the deadline, 8 February, you get the pattern for the next cowl for free. The cowls are all listed in the original post, it's not a mystery game, and if you miss a cowl you can buy the subsequent pattern and still earn the following ones. Isn't that nifty? Add in that the first cowl calls for Brioche stitch, one I've been wanting to try, and I had to cast on:
I've decided I really like the concept of giving a pattern away for free for a limited time, and not just because I like free stuff***: it's a reward for fans who pay attention, a way to attract new people as your existing fans tell their friends about this limited-time offer, and, importantly, when the pattern is no longer free, when you're asking strangers to pay for it, there are already a slew of projects and feedback with a variety of yarns alternatives and proven modifications. You basically turn your fans into Beta Testers (not to be confused with test knitters who provide a valuable service, one worthy of remuneration) and increase the value of a given pattern.
** don't be dirty
*** free doesn't necessarily correlate with "good", know what I mean? Also, I am entirely in favour of paying designers for patterns I like so that they can afford to design more things that I like. It's win-win.