Newbie's dumb question about casting-on

When a pattern says to cast-on 200 stitches, do I really make an entire row of 200 stitches? How does it all fit on the needle?? I feel sure that my mathematically-challenged brain is missing something because it’s hard for me to get even 40 stitches on my needle, and I’m using the right sized yarn and needle as the instructions call for. Please help!!

You will likely be best off using a circular needle. They can hold a LOT more stitches and they can be used for knitting back and forth - not just for knitting in the round.

…but now i just need to learn circular needles! I just wish patterns calling for 200 st cast-on wouldn’t be right after the beginner level instruction…
Thank you…

To knit on circular needles as flat, you don’t need any special technique. You just treat the two points as if they are separate needles.

Ingrid, I love your hat!