What do you consider to be a quality free icon editor? IconoMaker puts DEMO on every image...maybe I should just pay the $29.95?
Have you considered creating the graphic in GIF format and converting it to an icon? I googled "gif to ico" and there seem to be plenty of freebie tools to do the job. I haven't tried any, so I can't recommend any specifically.
We use Sib Icon Editor to make gif images or icons or something small.
See http://www.aha-soft.com/faq/make_website_icon.htm on how to make and install your own ICON
GIMP 2.8 works fine for that. I think 2.6 also. It can convert, and it even handles transparent backgrounds.