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Help! Wrap with slits

This is a redheart pattern wr1811 and I'm confused on my center section in making the slits. I'm on the center sectionwhere I'm to join yarn in 17th st on row 21. Do I join before 17 or after 17? Then I'm to do 2 hdc which isn"t following the previous pattern. I've included a link to the pattern and any help for this new crocheter would be greatly appreciated!!
http://www.coatsandclark.com/NR/rdonlyres/1024EC5B-2936-4949-8F20-0BA100...

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You join in the 17th stitch. You will have an overlap of two stitches with the section you had previously completed.

The first section consisted of 18 stitches so when you join in the 17th stitch, you will have an overlap of two stitches -- this is probably why it tells you to begin with 2 hdc before you resume your pattern. It seems that you will do something similar after you complete this second section and you begin the third section.

Then I'm overlapping the entire section? Isn't that where the slit should be?

You aren't overlapping the entire section -- only two stitches on each end.