Once you've gotten through the introductory material and learned that this is a pattern you would like to make and that fits with your skill level, read the pattern and make sure it makes sense to you.
Most patterns are heavily abbreviated and it can be difficult to understand what you're supposed to be doing. But most of the abbreviations you'll come across are pretty easy to explain. Here's what you need to know as a beginner:
- CO means cast on and is the foundation for your project. This is the number of stitches you will need to complete the project.
- K means knit, the most basic stitch. Patterns for beginners may be all knit, also known as garter stitch.
- P means purl, the second-most-common stitch and essentially the opposite of knitting. Many basic patterns employ alternating rows of knitting and purling, also known as the stockinette stitch.
- RS is the "right side," meaning the front of the project. When a pattern is reversible, like the farrow rib, front and back don't really matter, but on many projects there is a distinct front and back.
- WS, then, means "wrong side," or the back of a project.
- You don't see it often, but BO can be used to indicate binding off, which is the means of removing the project from the needles when you are finished.
These are the most common abbreviations you will find in patterns designed for beginners, but if you're looking at more advanced patterns and don't understand what they mean, check out the "translations" for common knitting abbreviations.