It's the one-tier behind problem, and it's true in all the crafts. Want a level 31 sword? You'll be in tier 3 country questing until 34 or so, but your materials are in tier 4 country. Same with leather armour and scholar mats.
All the best gear in the early game (up until mid to late 50s) is the crafted stuff. With things arranged the way they are, if you're trying to make your own gear, you probably won't be able to crit the tier you need gear from until you're considerably over-level for the area you're questing in. I think that's one of the reasons everybody suggests making your main an explorer and getting it higher level than your other toons - it can supply crafting mats - including a fair few scholar mats, because those drop from mobs, too.