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Beginner help! Please!

I'm self taught and trying to make my first afghan. It's alternating rows of dc and a shell stitch. Every row I get a different count. I've been over and over the thing and can't figure out where or how I could be dropping stitches. At this rate it'll be 2 stitches wide at the end. I'm thoroughly disgusted.
Thank you for any help.
My first guess is that you are missing a stitch at the beginning of each row when you make a turning chain and turn your work. (You could potentially be losing a stitch at the very end of the row, also). Can you direct us to the actual pattern so we can read the directions? Don't give up. Your problem is a common issue for many people...especially beginners. A little time, a little patience and a little practice in reading, seeing and "feeling" the stitches will bring happy results in no time at all. I promise!
...By and By...I'll Fly Away

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