Few of us today wear clothing that solely features the underlying color of the fleece it came from, but most garments are 'piece dyed' for the sake of supporting an economy of scale: they are woven first into a textile sheet which color is then applied to. This allows for the inexpensive mass production of dyed fabric, but comes at the cost of the colors fading more quickly and easily bleeding out of the material.
Yarn dyeing means applying color to individual threads before they are ever woven into anything. This process is time consuming and sometimes considered old-fashioned, but no other practice is a more proven way of getting fabric to hold its color and have that color remain bold. Buying dyed yarn from skilled artisans is an investment in something that will still be as beautiful in 20 years as it was the day you picked it up.
Usually the thought of yarn dyeing brings to the mind's eye images of large vats & yarn spools, as well as countless hours of no doubt unpleasant labor as one meets the other - and this is not an inaccurate image for larger operations. But today there are all sorts of independent studios with all manner of innovative ways to (in a small scale) dye yarns from simple, small hanks. There are even YouTube videos out there showing you how to do it yourself:
We strongly encourage our readers to support the traditional practice of yarn dyeing and the many studios throughout our communities that continue the old practice of bringing brilliant color into our lives.