I’ve always had problems making measurements at my lathe when working on a spindle less than four or five inches long. Without exception, the lathe centers always seem to get in the way.
One day I stumbled on the perfect solution. I took apart an old broken tape measure and cut the steel tape into pieces 1”, 2” and 3” long. Once the short pieces of take were secured to wooden holders with double sided tape. I had a set of mini-rulers that were ideal for my turning needs. They also come in handy for lots of other uses around the shop.