Ravelry is a great source for finding patterns, and getting multiple views of a pattern done by others. You can always see how others faired with a project before deciding to buy a not-free pattern (errata, alterations, hints/suggestions, # of frogs).
You can almost always find something similar to what you want/like for free, which you can then alter as desired.
Final advice, if you can't find something similair and you REALLY like the pattern, buy it. Not only will you have said pattern, but you will then have a reference to work from for making alterations and/or incorrporating elements from that pattern that you like so much into other FOs in the future.
Last edited by RochesterKnitter : 03-22-2012 at 08:07 PM.