Is this the pattern you're doing:
If so please remember that the chart is read from the bottom right hand corner up. so the first row (after the 4 rows of garter [knit each of those 4 rows]) is as follows:
K4 (for the border and then the pattern is: ) K5, yo,ssk,yo,ssk, k3, k2tog, yo, k2tog, yo, k6 - then k4 (again for the border). From your description it looks like you might be reading the chart backward. The second row IS read from left to right though. You work the charts that show every row from right to left, left to right, right to left from the bottom to the top of the chart. Kind of tricky.
The second row would be a WS row, which the pattern tells you to purl. For this you would k4 for the border then purl to the last 4 and k4 again.
As far as losing stitches I am not sure how to answer, but I'm sure someone else might have some tips. The only thing I can think of is that you might be forgetting a yarn over here and there and when you decrease (either a ssk or a k2tog) you might have wound up losing the stitch count.