Deform a circle so its like a clover but with more leaves (so it will be the strand for your rope. Make a nurbs curve where you want it to be, convert it to a dynamic curve using the hair system. then seclect the curve and do an extrude, modifying the number of twists (rotations) to suit how tightly wound you want the rope to be.
You can than play with the hair dynamics to get it moving how you want it to.
"No pressure, no diamonds" Thomas Carlyle