Choosing patterns and yarn

My skill level is beyond beginner and I would like to move into more advanced projects (both knitting and crochet). When I am shopping around and see yarns I like, I don't seem to be able to match them to patterns that I want to do. The patterns I find call for very specific yarns and brands and these aren't the ones on sale at knit picks or at the store. I am accumulating yarn and getting tired of just making hats and scarves! Am I looking in the wrong places? Is there a way to match up the yarns I have with compatible patterns without being limited to the yarn manufacturer's patterns? Any advice is appreciated.