Your chain should be a lot closer to 45" than to 24". I've found, though, that the exact length of the chain doesn't quite reflect the final size. You need to do a few rows first. Try a looser chain and see if you're closer.
The V-stitch isn't so bad. You basically do 2 stitches ([COLOR="RoyalBlue"]2 double crochet with a chain in between[/COLOR]) in one chain, skip 2 chains, and do 2 stitches ([COLOR="royalblue"]2 double crochet with a chain in between[/COLOR]) in the next chain stitch. (If you have an extra stitch at the end of the row, don't worry about it, no one will notice.) In your next row, you do your 2-double-crochet-with-a-chain-in-between in the chain-one space of the part I've marked in blue above. You don't have to worry about skipping chains in this row - just focus on those chain-one spaces. Does that help??