Where an old dog learns a new trick

I was very disappointed on how my ribbing 1×1 was coming out.  It had been so long since I knit this stitch flat that I couldn’t remember if it was always like this.  At first I blamed it on lack of practise, so I knit a few more swatches, to no avail (well…little).  On the swatch above, the ribbing was knit by working back and forth without turning, and, aside from the horrible tension, it doesn’t look so bad (but doesn’t look good either).

This one was done by turning my work and you can still see the zig-zag formed by the knit stitches.

I began pondering about this, doing other samples of ribbing and changing little things, and no matter what I tried, the results weren’t that different.  Then, I began to wonder if I used Norwegian purling I could make that ribbing look better.
Off to YouTube I went, looking for a video on how to do it.  I had heard about this before, checked it out and came to the conclusion it wasn’t worth the effort (too confusing).  This was some 3 years ago.  Now, I just wanted to get that ribbing right, so I gave Norwegian purl another try.
To my surprise it was way easier to get a hang of than I though.  As to the claims that it makes for faster knitting…meh.  I had to adjust each purl stitch after doing it, which slowed me down a lot.
      This image shows my first attempt at Norwegian purling.  I was working on the seed stitch swatch at that time, and of course, couldn’t wait until it was done before trying a new technique.  The swatch eventually got frogged, as for the first time in my life, I got  holes in the fabric when knitting seed stitch – that’s how bad the tension on the purl stitches were.

I went digging for answers as to why that ribbing was so wonky and from what I found, there is some consensus that it has to do with how the yarn is plied in combination with how “we” knit.  The “we” is between quotes because I don’t knit like the people who wrote about it.  In my mind, it made no sense that, even when knitting in a different way than most, I’d get the same result (granted, their samples might be zigging when mine is zagging, but still).
So, after giving up on the idea of Norwegian purl, I went back and gave it another try.  Guess what?  It worked for me.

The pics above aren’t of an official swatch and aren’t blocked (on purpose).  Aside from some (very) minor tension issues, it looks much better.
I think I got such a result because I’m not used to Norwegian purling – meaning I had to tug on the yarn and wiggle the stitch a little after doing each one.
One final note, the first and last swatches were done using Ella Rae Classic, so the twist of the plies wasn’t an issue (because I must have some kind of “scientific” standards here 😉 ).