I, too, have the Brother CS-6000 purchased a year ago when I was deciding if I wanted to sew as a hobby. (Yes, I'm hooked!) I also have problems with several layers of material on my various bags -- I'm a pro at bending and breaking needles. Slowing down really does help. Also, if your fabric can support it, try a size 100 DENIM needle. Because of your budget, this will work fine for you until you can invest in a better machine. Check your local Wal-Mart . . . mine no longer carries the blue CS-6000 I purchased for $179. It now carries a gray model for $130 that looks exactly like my blue one. Brother may be making changes to its lower-end store-boxed machines as Wal-Mart just started carrying a Brother sewing/embroidery machine for $349. Good luck with your decision!
My daughter and her boyfriend make these frequently . . . yummy! Because we all dip the pretzels, they just make them into pretzel "sticks" about five inches long rather than trying to shape them. It works really well! Enjoy!