Cable cast on is another good one to use. I haven't used the backward loop, but I've heard it can create loose stitches. I've used the cable cast on and it was pretty firm. I know there's a video here that shows how to do it.
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I usually use the knit CO, especially if it's where I'm going to pick up stitches, because it's easier to pick up from. Cable CO does make a firm, more finished edge, but is bulkier if you pick up in it.
sue- knitting heretic
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