The second holiday gift crochet project I made was a Checkered Flag afghan for my NASCAR fan Brother-in-Law:
I used this Race Flag Blanket pattern, a size N hook and various skeins of black and white yarn including Caron One Pound.
When I first came up with the idea of making a checkered flag blanket, I considered just making a bunch of plain solid hdc (or whatever preferred stitch) squares and sewing them all together. Super simple! But, I ended up choosing the pattern linked above instead, because it was a bit more unique - the blanket is worked with a double-strand of yarn and each square is worked from the center, in rounds, outward. The square pattern is simple to remember, consisting of only 5 rounds and it's easy to work up. Plus, each completed square measures roughly 12 inches, so the blanket really came together quickly for me (in about two weeks). It probably took me longer to sew everything together than it did to make the 35 squares (18 white, 17 black), just because I do not enjoy sewing.
I sewed the squares together with white yarn (instead of black like the pattern calls for, because I had extra white yarn in my stash), using an invisible seaming technique. And for the finishing edge around the outside, I worked the round of single crochets in a double strand - one white strand and one black strand (instead of both black, like the pattern used).
The finished blanket measures approximately 60 inches by 84 inches.