I'm having the same issue. Charcoal and locked items works, but the "easy forge option" doesn't seem to be working for me. Despite being activated the blueprints still cost resources.
This is because the game has hard caps for the skills. It accomplishes this by diminishing returns on the xp you can earn for a skill based on the attribute level relevant to that skill. For example, One Handed you need to raise your Vig to 10 in order to hit the hard cap of 330.
You can break this hard cap by using the console and giving your skill an obnoxious amount of xp from level 1, but I believe this might actually break the skills in the game too so I wouldn't advise it.