Measuring Stuff

When I was little, I remember my mother measuring fabric. She’d hold one end out as far as her arm would go and then she’d bring the other end to the tip of her nose. She would announce that the fabric measured “about a yard.” I was so impressed. I thought she was smelling how long it was.

Turns out, the length of your arm, from your fingertips to your nose (when you have your head facing forward), is about 36 inches.  Just like two wraps around a thick bolt of fabric is about a yard. And your hand gesturing “call me” is pretty close to 6″ from pinky to thumb. (If you are a quilter, you just folded first, middle, and ring fingers down towards your palm and ran over to your cutting mat to see if that was true.) If you’re a piano player, you mentally fingered an octave. A dollar bill is about 6″ long, but if you want to get technical, it’s actually 6 and 3/16″.

Usually, when we measure, we quilters do want to get technical. (How many rotary rulers do you have kicking around?) Yardsticks? Floppy cloth measuring tapes? Manly, Stanley, metal retractable tape measures that could remove a finger as they whiz back into the case from 15 feet away?  There’s even a Tape Measure App for your iPhone.

Are any of your measuring tools pretty? Are they fun to hold in your hand? Would you put any of them in your purse just in case you wanted to measure something on the go? These tape measures (I hope) will change your mind.

Retractable tape measures with crochet covers:  beautiful and practical.

If you need a pretty, handmade, crochet-covered tape measure by yours truly, please head over to my new Etsy store. My tape measures are retractable (there’s a little button  to push) and you can measure up to 60″ with them. They are very light weight, about an ounce. And, did I mention they make great gifts? Free shipping (USA only).

Ami Simms


9 thoughts on “Measuring Stuff

  1. Your tape measure covers are adorable, Ami! Unfortunately, the last thing I need is yet another tape measure. We have them all over the house. How about you consider marketing the pattern for making the cover?

    That said, we do a lot of measuring according to the floor tiles. We have them 20cm, 30cm, and 60cm. 20cm is approximately 8″, 30cm is approx. 12 to 12 1/2″, etc. Similar to measuring with parts of the body.


    1. Delighted you think they are adorable! If enough people are interested in a pattern, it would be for a specific size and shape tape measure, not a one-size fits all/many, so I’m afraid you might then have even more tape measures than you do now! :)


  2. I still use the nose-to-end-of-fingers method for a quick measurement when needed. The other forms of measurement I’ve used from time to time. Oldies, but goodies in a pinch!!


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