Now that you know what all the little symbols mean, you can start to read the chart. But before you get into the nitty-gritty (knitty-gritty?) of individual stitches, it’s best to look at some big-picture items first.
First, unlike text, you read a lace chart in the direction you knit. That is, right to left, bottom to top (see red arrows above). The stitches and rows should be numbered in this direction to guide you.
A lot of lace patterns are designed so you don’t have deal with any yarn overs or increases/decreases on the wrong side of your knitting - you focus on all the “tricky stuff” on the front, then mindlessly purl your way across back.
Even if a lace pattern in worked in the round, you often alternate between a lace round and a non-lace round. (Fun fact: patterns with yarn overs on every round are called openwork).
But those “spacer rows/rounds” aren’t just nice from a mental break perspective, they make a big different in the way the lace looks - skip it and you’ll have a really squat-looking pattern. So they’re important to remember.
Knitting designers and publishers like to save space (especially magazines), so they often truncate charts to the most pertinent information. Which leads us to…
Question #2: Is this chart showing every row/round or every other row/round?
To tell, look at the numbers along the side the chart.
If it’s a chart for knitting flat, right side row numbers (usually odd numbers) are generally listed to the right hand side of the chart. Wrong side row numbers (usually even numbers) are generally listed to the left hand side of the chart.