Today, there are tons and tons of free patterns online but beware because you get what you pay for. They are many with inaccuracies so you may have difficulty with instructions or yardage.
The new trend is to small quick patterns. These may be designed to sell products like the Cut Loose Press patterns from Checker Distributors. You may not need all the products listed so beginners should ask for advice from shop staff or quilter friends. However, they are projects that you can make with confident beginner experience, most of the time. They allow you to try something new and can be a fun way it out. Here are a couple that are popular at The Marsh Store. The cell phone wallet takes 2 fat quarters and is a great gift for non-quilters. The 'Trim the Tree' uses the curvy log cabin tool. This pattern asks for enough fat quarters to give you a good mixture of shades and textures but you will end up with enough fabric for a couple of trees.