I came across this thread/poll on Cosplay.com about sharing patterns and tutorials. I was going to just post an answer there, but I noticed that some people's answers got really long. Also, my answer is pretty much the same as a lot of answers there and doesn't contribute much to the thread. So I thought it'd make a decent filler post here.
Do you publicly display your work/give tips/trade secrets?
Obviously, based on the very existence of this blog, yes. I really enjoy sharing my work and my knowledge, however, there are limits and conditions.
I can't imagine ever freely sharing a pattern that I drafted myself from scratch. I would recommend books and tutorials about how to draft said pattern, I would even make a tutorial about how to make the pattern, but I would never share just the pattern. Basically, I feel like people should do their own work. If I had to make it, I'm not giving it away for free. I would consider selling patterns, but I don't think that they'd even fit very many people.
Also, if something is really hard for me to figure out how to make, I won't post a tutorial. I'll admit, this is more selfishness than anything, but there are a few other reasons I won't do this. If it takes me a long time to figure out how to do something, chances are, the method that I come up with in the end isn't very good. I don't want to post long, tedious instructions on how to make something that might not even turn out that well because the directions are too complicated. In addition, if it's something that's really hard for me to figure out how to make, it was probably hard to make in general, and doesn't look as spectacular as I'd like it to. Chances are, it's something that I'm going to remake with an easier method anyway. Finally, if I'm having a lot of difficulty making something, I'm definitely not taking enough progress pictures to be helpful in a tutorial.
I'd never post patterns for something that I'm trying to make money off of, my fleece hats for example. If I tell people how to make them, why would they buy them from me? That's just bad business.
Aside from all of that, I have no problem telling people how I made something. I love sharing knowledge that will help people create things that they want, and more than half of the time, I got the information from somewhere else anyway. I love creating tutorials (when I remember to take pictures) and sharing easy methods of making something that looks like it's complicated.
On a similar note, I don't take commissions only because people aren't willing to pay for what they're worth (or even less than they're worth). Otherwise, I'd take them all the time to make money!