When you are starting a crochet project and working into the beginning chain, does your work often look like the photo above?
This if caused by a beginning chain that is tighter than your stitches - a really common problem in crochet and one that I suffer from. Fortunately, its really easily solved.
If you know that you commonly have this problem, its a good idea to solve it one of two ways.
WORK WITH A BIGGER HOOK FOR THE STARTING CHAIN:
Grab a hook a few sizes larger than you will be working in for the rest of the piece to do your beginning chain. Why not just try to work looser with your normal hook? Its really difficult to maintain an even tension when working in that way and you can end up with a beginning chain that looks a bit rough. I usually work one full size up to do my chain.
START WITH A FOUNDATION ROW:
Another alternative is to use a foundation row - this is also called "chainless" crochet. If my piece is in UK trebles, I will work the first row in foundation treble crochet. There are loads of tutorials out there for this kind of starting row:
Even if you don't have problems with your chain being too tight, for anywhere you need a lot of stretch (hems and necklines of garments, or if you are working a hat from the brim up), foundation crochet is usually the best way to go.