I have gotten fairly good with threading, with my selvedges and color, but I am still struggling with reading patterns. I just can't seem to keep track of where I am in a pattern and it is driving me crazy. I am looking for suggestions. It isn't just in keeping track of the pattern, but in figuring it out. I can't look at the block picture (black and white) and see how it relates to the x's along the side. Help.
Reading a draft
I think what you are calling the block picture is called the drawdown, and is intended to give you an idea of what the fabric will look like. You don't look at it while weaving. You thread according to the threading diagram at the top (bottom if it is a European pattern) and treadle according to the treadling sequence that runs down the side. If you follow this, you will get something like the "picture". The treadles are represented by the vertical columns, lamms by horizontal rows in the tie up diagram. Don't overthink it. You will figure out how each lamm tied to each treadle raises specific threads, but it's much easier at first to just do it and watch what happens.