Solution: Since the clips themselves have a little metal piece on their underside, I used a powerful little magnet (the kind purchased from a hardware store) on the backside of the canvas to hold the clip. Now it's much easier to open and close the clip and the metal piece on the clip's front doubles as a needle minder. SUCCESS.
|Little Clip Holding Thread Out of The Way and Used as Needle Minder|
Back of Clip Showing Magnetic Metal Piece.