Painting patterns on cloth is an especially satisfying activity. I like to buy large white linen tablecloths and cotton sheets and pillowcases from thrift or antique shops. Then I tear or cut them to the size I want and go at them with the watered down ink and acrylic paint. Also handy to have a spray bottle of water; I use it all the time now, I don't know how I did without. Good old spray bottle.
A departure from the puppets. These two objects are inked fabric stuffed with rags and stones to give them some weight. Sewing that ruffle on the pink one has been a bit of a trick. Almost done. The grey one has flute-y pink gills on the sides. When you look at them from the top down, they look like Mr. Potato-head ears.
Influences can come from anywhere, even plastic potato people.