Well, that's what I would have thought, too (about lofting curves and isoparms rather than surfaces, I mean. I came to Maya from using 3DSMax, though not as extensively as I could've. Never really got to character animation, for example.) The lofting problem is coming directly from Learning Maya 6
and that jack--in-the-box project. Basically, the box's lid gets constructed from a curve that started as a square and was filleted and joined. Then, the curve is made planar and duplicated, and the edges of both the new planar curves are trimmed. The Trim Edges are selected, and those are the surfaces that are lofted (with, well, Surfaces-- Loft.) That's where the problem is consistently coming in with the loft being hopelessly twisted. I've tried rotating the original curve all over the place, which doesn't help much. Neither does Auto Reverse. All additional advice appreciated.