I found that after the initial backcombing, twist and rip would work better on the ones that got loose. Koru, everyone's get loopy. You'll likely go thru several different loopy stages. Learn to love your loops, and wrap the ones you can't deal with. I still have quite a few loops. I'll see if I can get a pic for you in a bit.
Also, Koru, you mentioned trying to get your dreads to knot at the scalp. Um, mine don't. I have an inch or more of hair that is not knotted at the base of each of mine. It grows, then knots and shrinks as it gets longer, and just joins in with the rest of the dread eventually. It is a continuous thing. Be patient. Let them develop their own mind to some degree so you won't be fighting them all the time. As they develop, you'll understand more about what I'm saying. You haven't even dipped further than your toes yet in this dready journey. :o) It's really cool to watch them grow with you.