Below you can see my solution for the rope. I tried clothesline, but it was too skinny. I ended up using some very thick cording. For now it's in it's natural state. I'm trying to decide whether to cover it with fabric. It's only pinned in place now; I'll need to hand stitch and couch it in place.
I searched through the girls' closet and found an old shoe from which to steal the dirty shoe lace. This is also only pinned in place and will need to be hand stitched.
I like the dimension the rope and shoelace provide.
On a more negative note (excuse my minor rant!), the sewing machine shop called yesterday to say my machine was ready. I drove over immediately. When they brought my machine to the front, I told them I needed to check to make sure it was fixed. I threaded the machine to see if the thread was still catching on something inside. Sure enough, the catch was still there. I had the shop lady thread it so she could see what I was talking about. Then we did the same thing on a brand new machine in the shop. No catch.
She went to the back to get the repairman to come up front and talk to me. She came back without him; he told her there was nothing wrong. After she told me this, she immediately changed the subject, telling me of one unexperienced sewer who brought her machine in with a problem that was caused by said sewer fiddling with things in her machine that she should have left alone.
Was she trying to insinuate I'd fiddled with something? Not sure. But I'm frustrated. I've dealt with this shop for more than 10 years. This machine is the second I've bought there. I've even taught a class there. All that said, they did perform the needed maintenance on the machine, so it is very clean and running smoothly. But I don't like that the thread is catching on something. There is something wrong inside the machine I spent $3000 on, the machine I'd hoped would run for many more years.
What to do...
I'll keep using it until it gives me further problems (and the thread starts breaking again). But the next time I buy a machine, I'll buy it elsewhere. I will probably even switch brands.
Thanks for listening. I feel better now!