It sounds like when you started knitting again, you were holding the needles in the back of the work, instead of the front of the work. In other words, the non-working needles were between you and your hands, whereas they should be on the other side of your hands. It's hard to describe, I should put this in a video. So in the end, even though the right side of the work was on the outside, you were knitting the inside of the work, the purl side!
To avoid this, just look at the stitches facing you on the left needle you're holding. They should be V's, the right side of the stockinette stitch, not the dashes of the purl stitch. If they are dashes, you need to turn the work around, and put that needle in the other hand.
Hope that helps.
KnittingHelp Queen Bee
"There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. You do not even have to believe in yourself or your work. You have to keep yourself open and aware to the urges that motivate you. Keep the channel open."
— Martha Graham