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Have you ever knit a glove or a mitten and it asked you to cast on extra stitches where the fingers meet? Or in a pattern that says "cast on X at the end of the row?" That's the backward loop cast on. You make a loop, and then twist it and place it on the right needle, so that the tail of the yarn is held between the stitch you just created and the one before it.

The reason the rug pattern calls for it is so that your edges will match when you slip the first stitch of each row.

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