When we learn to knit, one of the big obstacles to progress is the appearance of random holes, so we put a lot of effort into not making holes.
Then, a lacy pattern catches the eye and it's suddenly about learning to make holes.
And that's what lace knitting is all about, making holes in particular places by putting the yarn over your needle as you work.
These yarn overs will either be matched with decreases keeping the number stitches the same in each row or used as increases.
In the two charts above don't think about the over all pattern or the repeats but just count the number of circles (representing the yarnovers) and the number of stitches decreased (the various sloping symbols). In the top chart from the Shetland Summer Stole the two totals should be the same because it is rectangular pattern. In the second, from A Bench in the Clearing, there should be more yarnovers than decreases because the outmost yarnovers are used as increases to make a triangular shape.
If you think about your lace pattern as sets of yarnovers and decreases rather than worrying about the whole pattern all at once it can be easier to get your head around. This is true whether working from a chart or a written pattern.
Checking sets of yarnovers and decreases is also a good way of working out if you have gone wrong with a lace pattern.