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Ah, that first row of any project is the toughest in my opinion. Crocheting into the chain can be so hard, especially if your chains are too tight or you're not sure exactly where in the chain to insert your hook. For the first problem, one way to address it is to use one hook size larger than called for in the pattern to make your chains. For the later problem, try to pinch the chain between your fingers and slide the hook in between the two top bars of yarn (that look like the top of a stitch) and the underneath bar of yarn. Using this technique will make for a smoother bottom edge. If the edge doesn't matter so much (for example, you are going to sew pieces together or put on a trim), then just insert the hook under one or two of the yarn bars to make your stitch. Just be consistent in your approach, and that first row will be done before you know it!