Over at Vectortuts
(a great site), Andrei Marius
(one of my favorite authors there) recently published a tutorial for illustrating a tape measure (see above, obviously).
This is a tutorial for novice Inkscape users (like myself) dealing with common design tasks the solutions for which are not always obvious. Deals with Tiled Clones, the Interpolate extension, and the Pattern Along Path LPE.LINK TO VECTORTUTS TUTORIAL