When I decided to make amigurumi dolls a few years ago, I had a basic knowledge of crochet. I knew how to make a chain or basic stitches, but I had never tried to read a pattern. I felt flat on my face when I took on my first project, a basic little bear that looked so easy to make, I thought I would be done in no time until I realized that I was dealing with hieroglyphs. I ended up giving up on the pattern after several attempts at deciphering the “code”, tried to guess what it was supposed to mean and ended up with an hybrid that barely looked like an animal.
After that failure, I took a hiatus to give me time to swallow my frustration, and I was ready to give up when I came across a site that turned things around, the Craft Yarn Council. This place is the mecca of knitting and crochet, there I found the translation of all the abbreviations and terminology used in patterns, and learned how to read a project.
You can browse through their menu, or download their Standards & Guidelines PDF for a printable version which also contain information on patterns, a guide to yarn weight, sizing, crochet needles, yarn label information. Regardless what kind of project you want to work on, blankets, dolls, clothes, this will help you understand all the basics if you are new to the technical world of crochet and knitting.
The site is also a great source of information if you are a designer and want to create patterns. There you can learn how to use the industry standards, write a pattern properly, and download symbols to include in your pattern.
I hope you find this link helpful, happy crocheting!