You only need to move items from your inventory into the tradeskill container until you have successfully created your first item and learned the recipe. (Note: some recipes are pre-learned by scribing a scroll or book - this is more common for cultural recipes than other types).
After you learn a recipe, open the tradeskill container in recipe mode using Ctrl+right-click instead of the usual right-click. You can now search for recipes by name and/or skill range. Click on a recipe and it shows up in the virtual-container section of the window.
Item icons with a red overlay are items you don't have in your inventory. Item icons with a green overlay are items you have in your inventory.
Once all of the item overlays are green, click the Combine button. If you successfully create an item, click the Inventory button to put the item in your inventory.
You can also add recipes to a favorites page and then show the favorites page later instead of having to search every time.