I'm a level 8 character. Over the course of my adventure I've noticed that you can find armour here and there while doing side quests or even main quests, and as I keep doing quests, the armour that I find keeps getting better in quality. I realise that that may be due to the increasing difficulty of the quests that I'm tackling, but I am getting 'free' and better armour, at the end of the day.
Considering that not all the components required for creating good quality armor can be found/looted easily, and that some are otherwise very expensive to buy (plus the amount of money you'll need to invest in diagrams perhaps), is it really worth crafting armour early or mid game? And even in the late game, once you (hopefully) get rich?