|my project, Chart A and the first repeat of Chart B completed|
First, do you need to swatch. Not necessarily - this is a shawl, so "fit" isn't that important, but a swatch can tell you if you like the fabric...and if you'll have enough yarn to complete the project. If your fabric is looser than the gauge listed in the pattern you'll use more yarn than the pattern requires. I'm using Findlay Dappled which gives me about 25% more yards than the pattern suggests; no worries there! I swatched to see if I could use a bigger needle. The pattern suggests a laceweight yarn on size 3 needles and based on my swatches, I think that's great advice. If you're a loose knitter, consider a size 2 (and conversely size 4 for tight knitters). And if you are close to the suggested 630 yards, you should definitely swatch and check your gauge. If you're loose, you'll need more yarn.
Now you're ready to cast-on. Read through the pattern first. Note that the first two rows aren't charted; you work those rows from the pattern instructions and then start Chart A. The pattern also says that the first and last stitches on each row aren't charted. Don't forget to work them! If you're counting stitches, your count should always be two more than the number of boxes on the chart (because those two stitches aren't on the charts).
Use a regular long-tail cast on, starting with a slip knot.
The stitch abbreviations are included in a separate document, linked from the pattern. The group had questions about the SKP (slip the first stitch, knit the 2nd stitch and then pass the slipped stitch over the knitted stitch). This is a left-slanting decrease similar to an SSK (and feel free to substitute that stitch - it's your piece!). I'm working the SKP because I find it easier to work after a yarn over. And I'm passing the stitch knit-wise so it lays flat once it's passed over.
If you have other questions, please ask in the comments or on the thread in our Ravelry forum.
and please, share your projects and photos!