I’m attempting a very basic lace pattern, but I can’t figure out what is meant by the first YO in this sequence:
[yo, SK2P, yo, K1]
Yarn over for the slip? Seems pointless…

Argh. I’m entirely self-taught, but am thinking a teacher would be less frustrating.

You will yo, then slip 1 st, then k2tog, then pass the slipped st over the 2 you k2tog, (decreasing 2 sts) then yo again, then K1. In lace knitting, the YOs create holes and don’t always mean a decrease. HTH Mary

So I put the yarn in front, slip the stitch, then the yarn goes back, or does it stay forward for the K2tog?

The yarn will go back to do the k2tog. You are creating a lace hole and increasing 1 with the yo, decreasing 1 with the k2tog, decreasing another 1 with the passing of the slipped stitch, and then creating another hole and stitch with the second yo. You’ve added 2 sts and subtracted 2 sts at the same time which means your stitch count at the end of the row should be the same. It does seem pointless but for lace, that’s how you knit. Mary

I would think of it as the yarn going all the way around the needle - you don’t want it to be in front of the slipped stitch, you are creating a new stitch, and a hole. Envision an eyelet, if that helps.